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  • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet
  • Six Arguments for a Greener DietHow a More Plant-Based Diet Could SaveYour Health and the EnvironmentCenter for Science in the Public Interest
  • Copyright © 2006 by Center for Science in the Public InterestFirst Printing, July 20062 4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3 1The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), founded in 1971, is a nonprofitorganization that conducts innovative education, research, and advocacy programsin the area of nutrition, food safety, environment, and alcoholic beverages. CSPIis supported by the 900,000 subscribers in the United States and Canada to itsNutrition Action Healthletter and by foundation grants.Center for Science in the Public Interest1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW, #300Washington, DC 20009Tel: 202-332-9110; fax: 202-265-4954Email:; Internet: www.cspinet.orgISBN 0-89329-049-1Visit CSPI’s Eating Green web site:
  • The Web of Animal-Based Foods and Problems Natural gas, ores Fertilizer Pesticides Air, soil & water Risks to pollution farmers & wildlife Irrigation water Ground- water depletion Antibiotics, hormones Animal feed Soil erosion Health & ecological risks GlobalAnimal warmingcruelty (methane) Meat, Manure dairy, eggs Soil Air Water Food Cancer Heart pollution pollution pollution poisoning disease
  • Eating Green: By the Numbers(All figures apply to the United States, except where noted, and are approximate. See text for sources.) Health3 years: how much longer vegetarian Seventh-day Adventists live than non-vegetarian Seventh-day Adventists4.9 servings: the servings of fruits and vegetables consumed daily, compared tothe recommended 5 to 1016 percent: the decreased mortality from heart disease associated with eatingone additional serving of fruits or vegetables each day24 percent: how much lower the rate of fatal heart attacks is in vegetarians com-pared to non-vegetarians25 percent: the proportion of food-poisoning deaths due to pathogens from ani-mals or their manure33 percent: the decrease in beef consumption since 197650 percent: how much less dietary fiber Americans consume than is recommended51 percent: the reduction in risk of heart attack for people eating nuts five ormore times per week compared to less than once a week90 percent: the proportion of chickens contaminated with Campylobacter bacteria100 percent: how much fattier meat is from a typical steer that’s fed grain ratherthan grass199 pounds: the combined amount of meat, poultry, and seafood produced perAmerican (2003)1,100: the mortalities due each year to foodborne illnesses linked to meat, poul-try, dairy, and egg products46,000: the number of illnesses due annually to antibiotic-resistant strains of Sal-monella and Campylobacter63,000: the number of deaths from coronary heart disease caused annually by thefat and cholesterol in meat, dairy, poultry, and eggs$7 billion: the annual medical and related costs of foodborne illnesses$37 billion: the annual cost of drugs to treat high blood pressure, heart disease,and diabetes$50 billion: the annual cost of coronary bypass operations and angioplasties
  • Environment1 pound: the amount of fertilizer needed to produce 3 pounds of cooked beef5 times as much: the irrigation water used to grow feed grains compared to fruitsand vegetables5 tons: the soil lost annually to erosion on an average acre of cropland7 pounds: the amount of corn needed to add 1 pound of weight to feedlot cattle(some of that weight gain is not edible meat)19 percent: the proportion of all methane, a greenhouse gas, emitted by cattleand other livestock41 percent: the share of irrigated land planted in livestock feed crops66 percent: the proportion of grain that ends up as livestock feed at home orabroad331: the number of odor-causing chemicals in hog manure4,500 gallons: the rain and irrigation water needed to produce a quarter-poundof raw beef8,500 square miles: the size of the “dead zone” created in the Gulf of Mexico byfertilizer runoff carried by the Mississippi from the upper Midwest33 million: the number of cars needed to produce the same level of global warm-ing as is caused by the methane gas emitted by livestock and their manure22 billion pounds: the amount of fertilizer used annually to grow feed grains forAmerican livestock3.3 trillion pounds: the amount of livestock manure produced annually17 trillion gallons: the amount of irrigation water used annually to produce feedfor U.S. livestock Animal Welfare0.5 square feet: the amount of space allotted to the average layer hen30: the number of chickens and turkeys consumed annually by the averageAmerican13,200: the number of chickens killed each hour in a modern slaughterhouse50,000: the number of broiler chickens in the largest growing sheds140 million: the number of cattle, pigs, and sheep slaughtered each year
  • ContentsAcknowledgments    iiiAbbreviations    vPreface: Greener Diets for a Healthier World    vii The ContextThe Fatted Steer    3 The Arguments#1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health    17#2. Less Foodborne Illness    59#3. Better Soil    73#4. More and Cleaner Water    87#5. Cleaner Air    103#6. Less Animal Suffering    113 Making ChangeChanging Your Own Diet    143Changing Government Policies    151 
  • ii • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Appendixes and NotesAppendix A. A Bestiary of Foodborne Pathogens    171Appendix B. Eating Green Internet Resources    177Notes    181Photo Credits    223Index    225
  • AcknowledgmentsT his book is a publication of the Center for Science in the Public Inter- est’s (CSPI’s) Eating Green project, which advocates a more plant- based diet to protect both health and the environment. Asher Wolfdrafted the chapters on foodborne illness, soil, water, air, and animal wel-fare; Reed Mangels wrote the chapter on chronic disease; and Michael F.Jacobson wrote several other chapters and edited the entire manuscript.Michael Kisielewski contributed valuable editing and research; MoiraDonahue, Judy Jacobs, Phyllis Machta, Tyler Martz, Jonathan Morgan, andCarol Touhey helped with proofreading and fact checking. Nita Congressprovided invaluable advice while she edited and designed the book. CSPI’sDebra Brink designed the cover and several graphic displays. Numerous experts in government, academe, and nonprofit organiza-tions generously provided data, advice, and reviews of entire chapters.Those people include Tamar Barlam, Aaron Blair, Navis Bermudez, Law-rence Cahoon, Winston Craig, Karen Florini, Tom Gegax, Noel Gollehon,Michael Greger, Robert Hadad, Ed Hopkins, Dennis Keeney, Ronald Lace-well, Alice Lichtenstein, Robbin Marks, Roy Moore, Mark Muller, FrenschNiegermeier, David Pimentel, Nancy Rabalais, Darryl Ray, Steven Roach,Bernard Rollin, Gail Rose, Joe Rudek, Daniel Rule, Frank Sacks, JenniferSass, Paul Shapiro, Parke Wilde, and George Wuerthner. In addition, CSPI iii
  • iv • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietstaffers Caroline Smith DeWaal, Bonnie Liebman, and David Schardtreviewed chapters and offered much useful advice. Notwithstanding allthat assistance, this book might still contain factual errors and inappropri-ate characterizations, for which the editor, Michael F. Jacobson, deservesthe dubious credit. Finally, we are grateful to John Robbins for writing hisground-breaking Diet for a New America, which helped inspire our work. CSPI extends its sincere gratitude to the Freed Foundation, Tom andMary Gegax, the Shared Earth Foundation, Lucy Waletzky, and the WallaceGenetic Foundation for their generous support of the Eating Green projectand the preparation of this book.
  • AbbreviationsAMR advanced meat recoveryBMI body mass indexBSE bovine spongiform encephalopathyCAFO concentrated animal feeding operationCDC Centers for Disease Control and PreventionCHIP Coronary Health Improvement ProjectCLA conjugated linoleic acidCRP Conservation Reserve ProgramCSPI Center for Science in the Public InterestDASH Dietary Approaches to Stop HypertensionDHA docosahexaenoic acidEDC endocrine-disrupting compoundEPA eicosapentaenoic acidEPA Environmental Protection AgencyEPIC European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and NutritionEQIP Environmental Quality Incentives ProgramEWG Environmental Working GroupFDA Food and Drug AdministrationHCA heterocyclic amineHDL high-density lipoprotein 
  • vi • Six Arguments for a Greener DietLDL low-density lipoproteinPAH polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbonPBDE polybrominated diphenyl etherPCB polychlorinated biphenylPETA People for the Ethical Treatment of Animalsppm parts per millionrBST recombinant bovine somatotropinSDA Seventh-day AdventistUSDA U.S. Department of AgricultureUSGS U.S. Geological SurveyvCJD variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob diseaseVOC volatile organic compoundWIC Women, Infants, and Children
  • Preface:Greener Diets for a Healthier WorldA mericans eat what might be called an all-consuming diet. Together, we represent over 40 billion pounds of protoplasm that each day needs to be fed over 1 billion pounds and 1 trillion calories of food.Our agricultural system consumes enormous quantities of fuel, fertilizers,and pesticides to produce the grains, meat and poultry, and fruits and vege-tables that feed a nation of 300 million people. It consumes enormous tractsof land and quantities of water—not only for growing food for people, butalso for producing food for livestock. And ultimately it consumes the con-sumer: Diet-relateddiseases account forhundreds of thou-sands of prematuredeaths each year. Six Arguments for aGreener Diet analyzesthe multitudinous andfar-reaching effects oflivestock productionand consumption. Onthe health front, most vii
  • viii • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietconsumers probably know that the saturated fat and cholesterol in fattybeef and dairy products and eggs promote heart disease. Fewer people areaware that beef has been linked to colon cancer and milk to prostate cancer.Adding to the toll are the toxic chemicals, such as polychlorinated biphenyls(PCBs), that animals tend to accumulate in their muscle fat and milk. In all,animal foods may be responsible for 50,000 to 100,000 premature deathseach year. (Not surprisingly, vegetarians tend to be healthier than the restof us.) While heart disease and cancer generally take decades to develop,meat, poultry, and eggs are major causes of food poisoning, which showsup quickly. Over 1,000 people die each year from livestock-related food-borne illnesses caused by bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli. In fact,many foodborne illnesses traced to fruits and vegetables actually are due toanimal manure that gets onto crops. Some foodborne germs are especiallyharmful because they defy the usual antibiotic treatment. Such antibioticresistance results, in part, from the feeding of small amounts of antibioticsto cattle, hogs, and poultry to fatten the animals faster or compensate for thedirty, crowded conditions in which they live. Consuming large quantities of animal products has inevitable envi-ronmental consequences. Beef cattle typically live out their last severalmonths in huge, densely populated feedlots. The 50,000 cattle that reside ina large feedlot at a given time produce as much manure as a city of severalmillion people. Not surprisingly, they create a stench that undermines thequality of life for everyone who lives or works nearby. Even grazing can beproblematic. In some parts of the West, cattle graze on ecologically sensitiveland, which can destroy normal vegetation. Industrial-scale hog productionrelies on pond-sized cesspools (euphemistically called lagoons by agribusi-ness) of manure. Stench aside, cesspools sometimes break open and pollutelocal streams and rivers. A high percentage of the grains and hay grown on our nation’s farmsfeeds animals, not humans. Producing the vast quantities of corn, soybeanmeal, alfalfa, and other ingredients of livestock feed consumes vast quanti-ties of natural resources and requires thousands of square miles of land.Much of the Midwest’s grasslands and forests have been replaced by grainfarms. In the arid West and Great Plains, large amounts of irrigation water,which might otherwise be used as drinking water or in more productivecommercial enterprises, are needed to produce feed grains. Although shift-ing to grass-fed beef would solve some of the environmental problems,as well as provide leaner meat, one serious problem would remain: Cattlenaturally emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
  • Preface: Greener Diets for a Healthier World • ix The chemical fertilizers that farmers use to help maximize grain pro-duction take a great deal of energy to produce, and they pollute waterwaysand drinking water. Because of all the fertilizer that washes down theMississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico has a poorly oxygenated “dead zone”the size of New Jersey. Using chemical pesticides to protect crops frominsects and other pests frequently results in those chemicals contaminat-ing drinking water in rural areas, as well as endangering farmworkers andwildlife. The small amounts that we consume when we eat both plant andanimal foods are unwelcome, if not demonstrably harmful. Among the questions this book seeks to answer are “What is the cost to theenvironment of raising so many food animals?” and “What is the cost to ourbodies of eating them?” We also ask “What is the cost to the animals?” Ifan animal is treated well, can exhibit its natural behaviors, and has a quickand painless death, then killing and eating it is easier to justify. However,most food animals are not so lucky. Hogs’ tails and chickens’ beaks are par-tially cut off. Egg-laying hens are squeezed into small cages. Broiler chick-ens spend their entire short lives in sheds crammed with tens of thousandsof birds, never getting a glimpse of the outdoors or pecking for insects inthe ground. Steers are often branded with hot irons, and bulls are castrated
  •  • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietwithout sedatives. Animal welfare activists have documented egregiousexamples of mistreatment of animals prior to slaughter, with chickensbeing smashed against walls and cattle having their throats slit and beinghung by their legs without first being rendered unconscious. In this era of global warming, researchers have cited the overall energyand pollution costs of different diets as an important reason to eat lessmeat. University of Chicago geophysicists Gidon Eshel and Pamela Mar-tin calculate that it takes about 500 calories of fossil-fuel energy inputs toproduce 100 calories’ worth of chicken or milk; producing 100 calories’worth of grain-fed beef requires almost 1,600 calories. But producing 100calories’ worth of plant foods requires only 50 calories from fossil fuels.In terms of global warming, eating a typical American diet instead of anall-plant diet has a greater impact than driving a Toyota Camry instead ofa gas-frugal Toyota Prius.1 And that difference translates into an annual430 million tons of carbon dioxide, 6 percent of the nation’s total emis-sions of greenhouse gases. Nutrition researchers in Germany have examined the ecological impactsof three kinds of diets: typical Western, low meat, and lacto-ovo vegetarian.2Compared to a typical diet, a low-meat diet uses 41 percent less energy andgenerates 37 percent less carbon dioxide equivalents (greenhouse gases)and 50 percent less sulfur dioxide equivalents (respiratory problems, acid Greenhouse Gases Global warming is occurring because increased amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere trap extra heat and gradually warm our planet. While automobiles and fossil-fuel power plants are the biggest contributors to global warming, agriculture also plays a role.  Livestock (mostly cattle) plus the manure lagoons on factory farms (mostly hog) generate an amount of methane that promotes about as much global warming as the release of carbon dioxide from 33 million automobiles. Methane is 23 times as potent as an equal amount of carbon dioxide.  Nitrous oxide—which comes from degradation of manure and from fertilizer applied to cropland—is 300 times as potent as carbon dioxide in promoting global warming and accounts for 6 percent of the greenhouse effect in the lower atmosphere.  Manufacturing fertilizer generates both carbon dioxide and nitrogen-containing greenhouse gases.
  • Preface: Greener Diets for a Healthier World • xirain). For a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, the savings are even greater: 54 per-cent less energy, 52 percent less carbon dioxide equivalents, and 66 percentless sulfur dioxide equivalents. Eating less meat and dairy products could greatly improve health,the environment, and animal welfare—especially if people replaced someof those foods with vegetables, beans, fruits, nuts, and whole grains (see“Changing Your Own Diet,” p. 143). Most minimally processed plant foodsare low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in vitamins, minerals, anddietary fiber, and they are the only source of diverse phytonutrients. Whileproducing more grains, vegetables, and fruits would require land, water,pesticides, and fertilizers, the amounts used would be small compared tothe amounts saved by producing less animal-based foods. Even withoutcutting back on beef and dairy foods, just shifting the cattle industry awayfrom feedlots and toward leaner grass-fed beef and getting the dairy indus-try to cut the saturated-fat content of milk would yield big dividends. This pro-plant message, however, has one important caveat: Animalproducts do not have a monopoly on causing harm. Diets rich in salt, par-tially hydrogenated vegetable oils (with their trans fat), refined sugars, andrefined flour also cause major health problems—heart disease, strokes, obe- Different gases have stronger or weaker effects on pollution. It is customary to convertthem into equivalents of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide so their effects may be comparedor combined.
  • xii • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet sity, and tooth decay, to name a few. And certain crops—such as sugar cane in Florida and, indeed, almost any row crop grown in monoculture on large farms—wreak serious environmental damage. While moving in a more vegetarian direction offers many benefits to health and the environment, a more omnivorous option is advo- cated eloquently by Universityof California journalism professor Michael Pollan in his recent book, TheOmnivore’s Dilemma. Pollan describes the multiple virtues of small farmsthat humanely and ecologically raise cattle, pigs, and chickens on pasturesand in woodlands and sell their meat, milk, and eggs locally.3 There’s littleroom for factory farms, Wal-Marts, or Burger Kings in that vision, thoughthe consumption of animal products could be at unhealthy levels. A more (ortotally) plant-based diet could be as compatible with sustainable agricultureas diets that include animal products, but comparing the two approachesis a good reminder that no path is perfect: Each has its own compromisesrelated to taste, cost, convenience, cultural values, health, ecology, animalwelfare, and the vitality of rural America. Ultimately, what you eat is yourchoice. Despite the well-recognized benefits of diets higher in healthy plant-based foods and lower in animal products (especially those produced onfactory farms), relatively few people will change their diets (and few farm-ers will change their growing practices) without encouragement from newgovernment policies. Six Arguments, therefore, suggests a range of policyoptions and programs (see “Changing Government Policies,” p. 151). Someof our proposals would directly promote a healthier, more environmentallysound diet. Others might reduce consumption by increasing the price ofanimal products. And some would improve the lives of farm animals. That’s what Six Arguments for a Greener Diet is about. Now a few words aboutwhat it is not about. Six Arguments focuses on the United States, though thesame logic applies to every other nation. The United States and other indus-trialized nations have largely passed through the “nutrition transition,”meaning that diets that were once based largely on starchy grains and pota-
  • Preface: Greener Diets for a Healthier World • xiiitoes now include much greater amounts of meat. Hundreds of millions ofpeople in India, China, Indonesia, and other developing nations are follow-ing our footsteps toward the meat counter. As Lester Brown, president ofthe Earth Policy Institute and a long-time analyst of global agriculture poli-cies, has noted, the animal-rich American diet requires the production offour times as much grain per person as the average Indian diet.4 If the entireworld’s population were to eat as much meat as Westerners, two-thirds moreland would be needed than is currently farmed.5 The increased demandfor water, fertilizer, and pesticides and the concomitant increased pollutionwould be unsustainable and ultimately devastating to our planet. Six Arguments for a Greener Diet puts the health, environmental, andanimal welfare consequences of raising and eating livestock under themicroscope, but does not delve into the whys and wherefores of the situ-ation. Why are so many animals allowed to be raised in miserable condi-tions? Why are restaurants permitted to market fatty hamburgers and otherunhealthy foods to young children? Why are livestock operations that raisethousands or tens of thousands of chickens, pigs, and cattle allowed to pollutewaterways and the atmosphere with tons of smelly, drug-tainted manureand global-warming pollutants? Why are huge soybean and grain farmsallowed to use such large amounts of fertilizer and pesticides that the run-off pollutes rivers, lakes, and even oceans? Why do farmers who grow cropsto feed livestock receive billions of dollars in annual subsidies, hundreds
  • xiv • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietof times as much as fruit andvegetable growers receive? Whydoes the federal government notshape its farm and health policiesaround its sensible Dietary Guide-lines for Americans and the vitalityof rural communities? It’s questions like those thatactivate dozens of agribusiness,food industry, environmental,health, and consumer groupsat the local, state, and nationallevels. The answers to the “why”questions are matters of politics,not science, and typically revolvearound money and livelihoods.The makers of pesticides, fertil-izer, and animal drugs; the cattle,hog, poultry, and dairy indus-tries; the large grain companiesand grain farmers—they all defend the status quo. They pour millionsof dollars each year into campaign contributions, lobbyists’ salaries, andadvertising campaigns. They wine and dine politicians—often over fattysteaks—and use hardball tactics to rein in any rare elected official who daresstray from the proper path. (Senators will long remember how, in 1980, thecattle industry successfully campaigned to defeat South Dakota senatorGeorge McGovern because he dared recommend that people eat less beef.)And, by making use of the “revolving door,” top officials from the cattle,pork, dairy, and other food- and agriculture-related industries become topofficials in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and many former legislatorsand Department of Agriculture officials enjoy more lucrative, and no lessinfluential, careers on Washington’s K Street, where they lobby for thoseindustries. Getting the “why” questions answered in a way that protects humans,animals, and the environment will require the involvement of thousands ofconcerned citizens, nonprofit organizations, concerned farmers and com-panies, legislators, and government officials at the local, state, and nationallevels. Considering how important these matters are, now is the time tostart. Meanwhile, each of us can quietly do our part—in our kitchens, gro-cery stores, farmers’ markets, and backyard gardens.
  • The Context
  • The Fatted SteerG rain-fed beef. Since the 1950s, that term has conjured up thoughts of tender, juicy, delicious meat. Grain-fed beef is advertised by super- markets and featured by restaurants. Omaha Steaks, a nationalretail and mail order company, pro-claims: “We select the finest grain-fed  Grain-fed beef is rich in saturatedbeef for superior marbling, flavor and fat and cholesterol, which promotetenderness.” Morton’s, the high-end heart disease.steakhouse chain, “serves only the  Growing corn and other crops for cat-finest USDA prime-aged, Midwest tle feed requires enormous amountsgrain-fed beef.” And the latest epicu- of fertilizer, water, pesticides, land,rean delicacy, Kobe beef—advertised and fossil the “most flavorful and tender  Feedlot cattle eat a grain-rich dietbeef on the Planet”—is fed grain (and that can cause digestive, hoof, andoften beer). The implication is that 1 liver diseases and necessitates the continuous feeding of antibiotics.beef from cattle that were not grain-fed is tough, tasteless, and simply not  Grass-fed cattle are less harmful to the environment and provide leanerworth eating. beef, but still generate air pollution. In truth, grain-fed beef, which Any kind of beef increases the risk ofaccounts for some 85 percent of colon cancer.American beef, epitomizes much of 
  •  • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietwhat is wrong with both the American “factory” approach to livestockproduction and the American diet. They eat a diet that sickens them. Theygenerate air and water pollution. They pack on fattier meat. And, to top itoff, grain-fed beef doesn’t necessarily taste better than grass-fed beef. A sensible argument for raising cattle and other ruminants is that theirmanure fertilizes grasslands, and they can convert into meat or milk thenutrient- and fiber-rich plant matter—grasses, cornstalks, and the like—thathumans cannot digest. Raising cattle that way, though not without prob-lems of its own, expands the food supply. However, in the United States,that rationale for including beef in the diet is undercut by the fact that thegreat majority of beef cattle spend months in feedlots eating grain, gettingfat, and generating pollution. The Objective: Cheap and Tender BeefRestaurateur and former professional football player Dave Shula’s “Viewson Great Beef” include the note that “A great steak is all about flavorful, juicyand tender beef.”2 And an animal physiologist with the U.S. Department ofAgriculture (USDA), discussing why he studies cattle proteins and genes,explains that “Tenderness is the most important trait to consumers.”3 The cattle industry certainly wants to satisfy consumers’ desires—andmaximize its profits. Fortunately for the industry, techniques that producetasty meat also turn out to be the cheapest way to raise cattle. The high-energy diets dished out at feedlots speed the animals’ growth, with much ofthe increased weight taking the form of fat. Much like a restaurant that triesto “turn” its tables as quickly as possible, the faster growth rate gets the cattleto market sooner. So with both gastronomic and financial motives in place,cattle producers have adopted practices that yield a very fatted steer indeed. Choosing to Produce Lean or Fatty BeefFor thousands of years, farmers have employed such factors as breeding andfeed to shape the nature and yield of the meat (or milk or pork or chicken). Inrecent decades, scientists and agribusiness firms have turned the art of meatproduction into a science, with careful research supplanting happenstance. Unfortunately, the practices that lead to the fastest production andcheapest prices are not what’s best for the consumer’s health.They Are What Their Parents AreBreed is a major determinant of cattle’s fat content. Angus, Hereford, andcrosses with other breeds are the most popular breeds in the United States,not least because they are among the fattiest. They have the largest amounts
  • The Fatted Steer •  Quality and Yield: Understanding USDA Meat Grades Because fat content is important to beef purchasers, the U.S. Department of Agri- culture has established a complex grading system that gives high grades to beef that is well-marbled with intramuscular fat.4 About 80 percent of all beef cattle and cows are graded by visual inspection at the slaughterhouse. The fattiest meat (8 percent marbling or higher) rates as Prime, the next fattiest (5 to 7 percent marbling) as Choice, and the leanest meat (3 to 4 percent marbling) as Select. In recent years, about 40 percent of cattle were graded as Select, 60 percent as Choice, and 2 to 3 percent as Prime.5 Restaurants and supermarkets pay a pre- mium for that fatty Prime meat. Producers also receive a premium for such special USDA grading programs as “Certified Angus Beef” or “Certified Hereford Beef,” which are breeds that yield mostly high-Choice beef (see figure 1).6 “External” fat—that is, fat outside of the edible beef used as steaks—is reflected in USDA’s “yield grades.” The lower the grade on a scale of 1 to 5, the less fat.7 Of meat that is graded, 85 percent is USDA yield grade 2 or 3. Although some producers argue that the quantity of external fat is unimportant because most of it is trimmed from beef cuts, much of that fat eventually ends up back in the food supply when it is blended with lean ground beef or used as shortening in baked goods.8  An even leaner grade of beef, Standard, represents only 0.3 percent of all meat that is graded.of external fat and the highest marbling scores, and they provide the high-est percentages of Choice meat (see figure 1). The Limousin and Chianinabreeds are far leaner. In Italy, in fact, the Chianina breed is prized for itslean meat. In the United States, it is often crossbred with other cattle—suchas the Hereford—to increase marbling in the Chianina or decrease back fatin the Hereford.They Are What They EatWhat cattle are fed greatly influences how fatty their meat will be. In a studyat Ontario’s University of Guelph, Ira Mandell and his colleagues let Limou-sin calves graze for eight months.9 The cattle were then fed either grain ormostly alfalfa hay for seven months (see table 1). The average carcass weightof the grain-fed steers was 45 pounds more than that of the hay-fed steers,reflecting faster growth on a high-energy diet. The layer of back fat over thelongissimus muscle (the main muscle in rib and strip loin cuts) was twice asthick in the grain-fed steers. And meat from the grain-fed steers containedalmost twice as much intramuscular fat. The hay-fed steers, on the otherhand, produced more lean meat than their grain-fed counterparts.
  •  • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Figure 1. Percentage of fattier meat in selected cattle breeds10 USDA Choice (% of meat) 80 70 60 50 40 Hereford-Angus 30 Maine Anjou Simmental Shorthorn 20 Charolais Limousin Gelbvieh Chianina Salers 10 0 Breed Notes: All carcass weights were about 700 pounds. While some breeds are inherently higher in fat, they will be leaner ifthey graze on pasture. In a study conducted at North Carolina State Uni-versity, Angus steers were kept on pasture or fed corn until they weighedabout 1,200 pounds (see table 2).11 The grass-fed steers took about 1½ monthslonger to reach that weight, and their meat contained much less fat marblingthan that from the grain-fed steers: Grass-fed beef was on the lean side ofUSDA Select, while grain-fed beef was on the high side of USDA Choice.Although the average carcass weight of the grass-fed steers was 75 poundsless than that of the grain-fed steers, the area of their longissimus musclewas almost as large as that of the grain-fed steers—a sign that grass-fedcattle can yield almost as much edible meat as grain-fed cattle. Moreover, Table 1. Carcass traits of Limousin steers fed grain or hay for 209 days12 Carcass trait Grain-fed steers Grass-fed steers Carcass weight 720 lb 674 lb Total fat 27% 19% Intramuscular fat 4.0% 2.7% Back fat over longissimus muscle at slaughter 0.4 in 0.2 in Lean meat 395 lb 409 lb
  • The Fatted Steer •  Table 2. Carcass traits of Angus steers fed grain or grass and slaughtered at similar weights13 Carcass trait Grain-fed steers Grass-fed steers Days on diet 91 133 Weight at beginning of experiment 896 lb 909 lb Slaughter weight 1,260 lb 1,190 lb Carcass weight 750 lb 675 lb Marbling score* 6.2 4.5 USDA quality grade† 17.5 15 USDA yield grade ‡ 3 2.2 Longissimus muscle area 13.1 sq in 11.9 sq in * Scoring system designed by researchers to match USDA’s scoring system: 4 = slight degree of marbling; 5 = small; 6 = modest; 7 = high. † Scoring system designed by researchers to match USDA’s scoring system: 16 = Select; 17 = Choice; 18 = High Choice. ‡ Yield grade is measured on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 containing the highest amount of waste fat.the lower yield grade indicates that the grass-fed beef had less low-valueexternal fat. An animal’s diet can override the effect of breed. Feeding grain to aleaner breed of cattle over longer periods can result in meat that is as fattyas that produced by a fattier breed. The University of Guelph researcherscompared the Red Angus breed with the leaner Simmental.14 Both groupsof animals were finished with a high-grain diet and slaughtered when theyreached the same back-fat thickness (about 0.4 inches, determined by ultra-sound). The Simmental took about 2½ months longer than the Red Angusto reach the same amount of back fat and, thus, spent substantially moretime on feed grains. The Simmental outweighed the Red Angus at slaugh-ter by 45 pounds, and, despite its “lean” reputation, had a slightly highermarbling score and total (external and internal) fat content. So, just becausemeat comes from a normally lean breed does not automatically mean thatthe meat is lean.Younger Is LeanerThe age at which cattle are slaughtered strongly affects fat content. In astudy led by Susan Duckett at the Oklahoma State University Meat Lab-oratory, grain-fed Hereford-Angus cattle were slaughtered after 28-dayintervals on high-energy diets.15 After periods longer than 84 days, cattleprogressively accumulated wasteful, external fat without increases in thepalatability (taste, juiciness, and tenderness) of their meat. Between 84 and
  •  • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet112 days on feed grains, the cattle experienced the largest increase in exter-nal fat and marbling. During that period, the content of intramuscular fatmore than doubled, moving the meat from USDA Select to Choice. Thoseresults suggest that limiting grain feeding to 84 days—many cattle are onfeed for up to 190 days—could provide much more healthful meat. Fatty Meat Clogs Arteries…Fattening cattle on grain is the quickest way to get them to market, but thehigher fat content of feedlot beef is life threatening. Beef is a major source ofsaturated fat and cholesterol, which increase levels of the harmful kind ofcholesterol in our blood. That clogs arteries and increases the risk of heartattacks, the nation’s number-one cause of death. While consumers can eas-ily cut away the outside fat on steaks, they can’t remove the fat that marblessteaks or the fat in hamburgers and meatloaf. Grass-fed beef is usually lower in fat and less conducive to heart dis-ease.16 But, as we will discover in the next chapter, any kind of beef—espe-cially processed meats such as sausages—promotes colon cancer. …And Doesn’t Necessarily Taste BetterAmericans have been trained to salivate at the mention of grain-fed beef.“This creates well-marbled, tender, flavorful steaks. Marbling is the easiestway to spot a high quality steak,” says Iowa Corn Fed, a mail-order com-pany that charges as much as $35 a pound for a steak.17 One study foundthat pasture-raised beef sometimes has a “grassy” off-flavor. A Univer-sity of Nebraska study found that half the taste testers preferred corn-fedbeef, but the other half either preferred Argentinian grass-fed beef or wereundecided.18 Taste experts agree that corn-fed beef tastes different from grass-fedbeef, but not necessarily better. Corby Kummer, food editor for the Atlan-tic Monthly, says “Grass-fed beef tastes better than corn-fed beef: meatier,purer, far less fatty, the way we imagine beef tasted before feedlots andfarm subsidies changed ranchers and cattle.”19 Careful, moist cooking, suchas using marinades, helps reduce any stringiness. Many studies dispute Kummer, presumably because taste is subjec-tive and tasters bring with them their expectations of what tastes good.20But some of the studies make a case for grass-fed beef. Mandell and hiscolleagues at the University of Guelph compared meat from the popularHereford breed and the leaner Simmental breed. Cattle of each breed werefed mostly grass or mostly grain. A trained taste panel judged meat fromboth breeds—whether they ate grain or grass—to be equally palatable.21
  • The Fatted Steer •  Another study—spon-sored in part by the NationalCattlemen’s Beef Association—found that among top loin, topsirloin, and top round steaks,consumers showed barelyany preference for the fattierChoice grade over Select.22The study, conducted by TexasA&M University researchers,found that the more oftenconsumers purchased leanermeat, the less able they wereto distinguish among qualitygrades. They concluded thatthe “USDA quality grade maybe limited” in indicating thetaste of a steak. Taste is moreculturally determined thangenetically determined. It’s nosurprise, then, that people prefer the kinds of beef they grew up with: fattygrain-fed in the United States and lean grass-fed in Argentina (the biggestbeef-consuming country in the world). But we suspect that many more con-sumers would enjoy grass-fed beef if they both tasted it and were told of itshealth and environmental advantages. Although beef production is geared to delivering fattier Choice orPrime meat, some health-conscious consumers are seeking leaner meat.Some companies, such as Laura’s Lean Beef, pay ranchers a premium forcattle that yield leaner Select grade beef. Other ranchers, such as Maver-ick Ranch and Coleman, market grass-fed or organic beef, which is oftenleaner than regular beef, and are getting a premium for it. For example,Hawthorne Valley Farms, which boasts several hundred acres of lush pas-tureland, charges up to $20 per pound for grass-fed tenderloin steaks atlocal farmers’ markets.23 In response to this growing consumer demand,even the Cattlemen’s Beef Board sometimes highlights the low fat contentof certain steaks.24 Raising Cattle Harms the Environment…Raising tens of millions of cattle not only provides meat that promotesheart disease and sometimes causes food poisoning (see Arguments #1
  • 10 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Grass-Fed Beef: Better, but Not a Health Food Grass-fed beef is typically leaner than feedlot beef, a major advantage; and graz- ing on pasture spares the need for about 5,000 pounds of grain per animal. Beyond that, some advocates maintain that grass-fed beef is rich in two special kinds of fat—conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3 fatty acids—that confer health benefits. One purveyor, Ameri- can Grass Fed Beef, emphasizes that its “grass fed beef is high in heart friendly essential fatty acids.”25 As yet, however, the evidence for such benefits is scanty, and even lean beef modestly increases the risk of heart disease and promotes colon cancer. Conjugated Linoleic Acid In the early 1980s, scientists suggested that CLA in beef might help fight obesity and prevent cancer. However, studies over the past two decades generally have been unsuccessful in linking the consumption of grass-fed beef to those “near- magical” (as one skeptical scientist stated) results.  Weight gain. Michael Pariza—the University of Wisconsin scientist who first iden- tified CLA in beef and heralded its possible benefits—found that CLA reduces weight gain in laboratory mice, with possibly smaller benefits in other lab ani- mals.26 However, Pariza notes that the fat mostly reduces future weight gain, not the initial weight. An industry-sponsored study suggests that CLA might lower the percentage of body fat, but not weight.27 An added complexity is that meat and dairy products contain one form of CLA, while dietary supplements contain an additional form. Only the form in supplements affects weight in animals. The bottom line is that human studies have not shown a benefit,28 and some research indicates that supplements may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other problems.29 In 2002, the Institute of Medicine, a part of theand #2), but also wreaks environmental havoc, as detailed in Arguments #3,#4, and #5. A mid-sized feedlot with 10,000 cattle churns out half a millionpounds of manure each day—equivalent to a city such as Washington, D.C.,with 500,000 residents. That mountain of fragrant manure pollutes the airand sometimes pollutes streams and rivers, killing plants and animals. Themethane that cattle and their manure produce has a global-warming effectequal to that of 33 million automobiles.
  • The Fatted Steer • 11 National Academy of Sciences, stated that “research on the effects of CLA on body composition in humans has provided conflicting results” and declined to set a recommended intake level.30 Overweight individuals should run—but not to grocery stores for grass-fed beef or drug stores for supplements.  Cancer. When female rats predisposed to mammary (breast) tumors were fed a diet containing 0.5 percent to 1 percent CLA, existing tumors grew more slowly or stopped growing, and fewer new tumors developed. Also, the tumors did not spread to other organs.31 In 1989, USA Today opined that beef “aids [the] war on cancer” and could “be made into a drug” if CLA proved beneficial to humans.32 But the Institute of Medicine threw cold water on that notion, too, saying that “to date, there are insufficient data in humans to recommend a level of CLA at which beneficial health effects may occur.”33 Even if beef’s CLA turns out to protect against cancer, grass-fed beef’s lower fat content—its real health advan- tage—would reduce the benefits from the higher content of CLA in its fat.34 Overall, the evidence that CLA offers health benefits is skimpy. And if CLA ever were proven to offer benefits, doctors certainly would prescribe pills, not burgers. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Some people claim that grass-fed beef is especially healthful because it contains about five times as much omega-3 fatty acids as grain-fed beef.35 Those are the same fatty acids—eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)—that are found in fish oil and appear to prevent heart attacks and possibly strokes.36 Beef also contains small amounts of alpha-linolenic acid, some of which the body can convert to EPA and DHA.37 But the amounts of all of those fatty acids are small. The American Heart Association recommends that people without heart disease eat fish twice a week, as well as flaxseed, canola, and soybean oils. People with heart disease should consume about 1 gram of EPA and DHA per day.38 To get that amount from grass-fed beef would mean eating about 5 to 10 pounds of rib steaks.39 Clearly, fish and dietary supplements are better sources: Three ounces of bluefin tuna provide 1.5 grams of the fatty acids; 3 ounces of Atlantic salmon provide 1.9 grams.40 Feeding grain to cattle makes a bad situation worse. It takes about7 pounds of corn to put on 1 pound of weight. That’s why over 200 millionacres of land are devoted to producing grains, oilseeds, pasture, and hay forlivestock.41 Moreover, cultivation of those crops requires 181 million poundsof pesticides, 22 billion pounds of fertilizer, and 17 trillion gallons of irriga-tion water per year. The fertilizer and pesticides pollute the air, water, andsoil, while irrigation depletes natural aquifers built up over millennia.
  • 12 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Grazing’s Pluses and Minuses Grazing is better in many ways than feeding grain to cattle, but it still exacts environmental costs. Cattle that eat grass and roughage release more methane (a gas that causes global warming and is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide) than cattle on a high-energy feedlot diet, because grass-fed cattle take about 10 to 20 percent longer to reach market weight.42 Those longer lives also mean more manure—about 3,500 to 5,000 pounds per animal (60 pounds per day). That manure, though, is dispersed widely on pastureland, enriching the soil and nour- ishing the growth of plant life.43 …And the Cattle, TooOne measure of our humanity is how well we treat animals. While pets,of course, are often pampered almost like children, livestock are anotherstory. Aside from sometimes being branded with a burning hot iron and,in the case of males, castrated without the benefit of sedation or painkill-ers, beef cattle have a pretty good life for their first year or so, living on therange. But then virtually all cattle are shipped in crowded trucks—exposedto the elements and banged about—to feedlots, where they dwell for up tosix months in manure-befouled pens and eat a high-energy corn-based dietthat sometimes causes liver, hoof, and gastrointestinal illnesses and occa-sionally even fatal bloating. (Shipping the animals to the feed is cheaperthan hauling the feed to them. Indeed, in the case of chickens, corn and soy-bean meal account for 60 percent of the cost of production.44) When they’ve reached market weight, feedlot cattle (along with smallnumbers of pasture-raised cattle) are shipped for the final time to a slaugh-terhouse where they have a small, but real, risk of a slow, painful death.From that point on, the cattle exact a sort of posthumous revenge: First tosuffer are the workers in slaughterhouses and meat processing plants whoexperience everything from repetitive movement injuries to knife wounds.Next are the unwitting consumers, who may suffer foodborne illness in theshort term or fatal heart attacks in the long term. What It All MeansRaising cattle provides valuable nutrients, leather, and by-products used bythe food and drug and other industries. But considering how most cattleare raised, those positives are outweighed by a host of negatives. To protectour own health and our country’s environment, the best thing we coulddo would be to eat less, leaner, or no beef. Should that happen on a largeenough scale, vast areas of cropland could be freed up, allowing the land to
  • The Fatted Steer • 13regain much of its original fertility and biodiversity or to be planted in morehealthful fruit and vegetable crops or crops that would provide biofuel. But as long as people do eat beef, raising cattle on pastureland—insteadof feeding them grain—would dramatically reduce the fat content of beef,the waste and pollution of water and the fouling of air caused by manureand agricultural chemicals, and the misery experienced by the cattle con-signed to feedlots.
  • The Arguments
  • Argument #1.Less Chronic Disease and BetterOverall Health Our Diet Is Killing UsAt least one of every six deaths in the United States—upwards of 340,000each year—is linked to a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.1 The averageAmerican is about as likely to diefrom a disease related to diet and  The saturated fat and cholesterol inphysical inactivity as from smoking beef, pork, dairy foods, poultry, andtobacco—and far likelier to die from eggs cause about 63,000 fatal heartdiet and inactivity than from an auto- attacks accident, homicide, or infec-  Less than a quarter of all adults eattious disease such as pneumonia.2 the recommended number of dailyAmong nonsmokers, the combina- servings of fruits and vegetables—tion of diet and physical inactivity is foods that reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.the single largest cause of death. The specific diet-related diseases  Vegetarians enjoy lower levels of blood cholesterol, less obesity,that fell so many of us include heart less hypertension, and fewer otherdisease, certain cancers, stroke, and problems than people whose dietdiabetes. Those and other chronic dis- includes meat.eases (so called because they develop 17
  • 18 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietand progress over many years) are caused in part by diets too poor inhealthy plant-based foods and too rich in unhealthy animal-based foods.We Eat Too Much of What’s Bad for Us…Obesity, which is directly linked todiet and a sedentary lifestyle, mark-edly increases a person’s risk of heartdisease, hypertension (high bloodpressure), diabetes, and some cancers.Rates of obesity have doubled in chil-dren and adults and tripled in teen-agers since the late 1970s, which is notsurprising, since—thanks to ubiqui-tous high-calorie foods—the average adult eats 100 to 500 calories more perday and—thanks to modern conveniences—exercises less.3 The additionalcalories have come mainly from the least healthy foods: white flour, addedfats and oils, and refined sugars.4 Moreover, Americans are eating more flesh foods—beef, pork, chicken,turkey, and seafood. In 2003, for instance, Americans ate more of each ofthose foods than they did a half-century earlier (see figure 1 and table 1).Fortunately, the biggest increase was for poultry, which is not directly linkedto chronic disease. However, a lot of that chicken—and fish too—is notbaked or grilled, but deep fried in partially hydrogenated oil. That oil con- tains trans fat, one of the most potent Figure 1. Major sources of animal causes of heart disease. Meanwhile, protein produced in the United Americans cut their consumption of States5 beef by 33 percent since 1976; that is likely due both to health concerns Eggs and lower chicken prices. 1.4 billion Pork Our inconsistent efforts to eat Poultry 2.3 healthy diets extend to non-meat 5.8 billion foods as well. Although we are eat- billion ing one-third fewer eggs—the yolks Beef 3.3 of which are our biggest source of billion cholesterol and thus contribute to Milk 5.6 heart disease—than we did in 1953, billion we are eating four times as much cheese—which is high in saturated fat and promotes heart disease (see 18.4 billion pounds per year table 1).
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 19 Table 1. Per capita availability of major sources of meat, poultry, and seafood; dairy foods; and eggs6 al ve sh sh & sh yo ilk & n se y ke & lfi rt ke ee el Fi gu ef k r ic gs M a r r Ch Ch Be Tu Po Ye Eg 1909 56 41 10 1 10* 34 4 293 1953 61 39 15 4 11 37 7 379 1976 92 41 29 7 13 30 16 270 2003 62 49 58 14 16 23 31 253 Notes: Figures for meat, poultry, and seafood represent the numbers of trimmed (edible) pounds per capita that were available in the food supply; the remaining figures represent the per capita numbers of gallons (milk and yogurt), pounds (cheese), or eggs that were available in the food supply. Due to waste and spoilage, actual consumption is lower. Beef consumption peaked in 1976. *Figure is for 1929, the first year for which data are available. Looking at other non-animal-derived portions of our diet, we are con-suming massive amounts of nutritionally poor plant-based foods, notably: refined grains (white bread, white pasta, and white rice), which are stripped of much of their nutrients and dietary fiber; soft drinks and other foods high in refined sugars (including high- fructose corn syrup), which replace more healthful foods and promote obesity; and baked goods and fried foods made with partially hydrogenated vege- table oil and palm, palm kernel, and coconut oils, which promote heart disease.Finally, there’s salt. The large amounts of salt in most packaged and restau-rant foods and processed meats increase blood pressure, which increasesthe risk of heart attacks and strokes.…And Not Enough Whole Grains,Fruits, and VegetablesThe U.S. Department of Agriculture(USDA) estimates that the average adulteats only one serving of whole grainsdaily.7 In contrast, the Dietary Guide-lines for Americans recommends thatat least half of our 6 to 10 daily grainservings should be whole grain.8 The
  • 20 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet The Cardiovascular Benefit of Eating Less Meat and Dairy Probably the biggest health benefit from eating less animal products (other than fish) is a lower risk of heart disease. The Center for Science in the Public Interest estimated the approximate benefit based on the:  amounts of different fatty acids and cholesterol that are supplied by various animal products,  impact of saturated fat and cholesterol on blood cholesterol levels, and  relationship between blood cholesterol and heart disease. We first estimated how our consumption of fats and cholesterol would change if all the beef, pork, milk and cheese, poultry, and eggs were removed from the average diet and either not replaced or replaced with foods that did not affect the risk of heart disease.9 Next, we projected how those changes in fat and cholesterol intake would affect blood cholesterol levels by averaging the results from formulas devel- oped by several leading researchers.10 We then assumed that a 1 percent increase in blood cholesterol—total or low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad” cholesterol) increases heart disease mortality by 2 percent.11 Those calculations indicate that avoiding animal fats 5,000 deaths would save about 63,000 lives per year (see figure).12 Because Eggs that estimate is based on inex- Beef 16,000 deaths act assumptions, the true total 19,000 Dairy might easily be 25,000 more deaths Poultry 5,000 or fewer lives per year. The deaths number of lives saved would be dramatically greater if one Pork assumed that people replaced much of the meat and dairy 18,000 deaths products with healthier plant- The fat and cholesterol in meat, dairy, based foods or fish. The eco- poultry, and egg products cause about nomic benefit of avoiding the 63,000 deaths from heart disease each year. fat would be about $100 billion a year or in excess of $1 trillion over 20 years.13 On the other hand, the same methodology indicates that the healthy unsaturated fats in salad oils currently save about 7,000 lives a year. Of course, we could reap some of those benefits by switching to lower-fat ani- mal products—such as from beef to chicken or even buffalo and to low-fat dairy foods.
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 21 The Economic Benefits of a More Plant-Based Diet Diseases related to a diet too poor in plant foods and too rich in animal foods contribute to skyrocketing health-care costs. The annual cost of angioplasties and coronary bypass operations is about $50 billion, with statin heart-disease drugs adding $15 billion.14 Spending to treat high blood pressure (including $15 billion for drugs15), stroke, diabetes (another $7 billion for drugs), and cancer add additional billions.16 And, of course, on top of the medical costs are the incalculable amounts of pain and suffering (of both the people with the diseases and their friends and relatives) and lost productivity. Eating a more plant-based diet wouldn’t eliminate all those costs, but would cer- tainly move us well along in the right direction. One study estimated that going vegetarian would save the nation $39 billion to $84 billion annually.17 If obesity— which is much less common in vegetarians than others—were eliminated, we could save about $73 billion a year.18USDA also estimates that we are eating 1.2 servings of fruit and 3.7 serv-ings of vegetables per day, considerably less than the recommended 5 to 10daily servings.19 And, disappointingly, potato chips and French fries (whichare often cooked in partially hydrogenated shortening) here count as “veg-etables.” Indeed, one-third of the vegetables that we eat are iceberg lettuceand potatoes, two of the least nutritious. We are consuming only one-thirdthe recommended amount of the most nutritious vegetables: deep yellowand dark leafy green vegetables, and beans.20 According to the USDA, we’re very slowly increasing our consump-tion of vegetables: Fresh vegetables are up 33 percent, and total vegetablesare up 25 percent, since 1970. Surprisingly, though, fruit consumption is uponly 12 percent over that period and has not increased at all in 20 years.21 As our diets have been buffeted by cultural, economic, and other fac-tors, the evidence that certain dietary changes can reduce our risk of chronicdisease has become much stronger. Much of the research shows that peoplewho eat more plant-based diets, such as those traditionally eaten in Medi-terranean or Asian countries, are generally healthier than those eating thetypical American, Canadian, or northern European diet. How Do We Know?Study after study points to meat and dairy products, especially fatty ones,as causes of chronic diseases. The harm results both from specific constit-uents in animal products (such as saturated fat and cholesterol) and frompushing healthier nutrient-rich plant foods out of the diet. This section
  • 22 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietpresents the science behind the (by now) commonly accepted premise thateating too many of the wrong animal products and too few of the healthiestplant foods does tremendous harm to our health. Again, a common-sensecaveat: Modest amounts of fatty fish and low-fat dairy, meat, and poultryproducts—even an occasional hot dog or cheeseburger—certainly can fitinto a healthy diet. The problems arise from immoderation. One approach to understanding the influence of diet on health is tocompare groups of people who eat very different diets. Such “observational”studies can provide important insights into what constitutes a health-promoting diet, though they cannot determine with certainty the particularelements in the diets—or other aspects of the subjects’ lives—that areresponsible for the better health. We review those studies first, then examine“intervention” studies, which are better able to identify causes and effects.Finally, we examine the health effects of specific foods and nutrients.Observational Studies Show That Vegetarians Live Longer and AreLess Prone to Chronic DiseasesStudies that compare disease patterns in people with different kinds ofdiets help identify factors that cause or prevent diseases. For example, dif- ferences in disease rates between veg- etarians (or vegans, who abstain from all animal products, including dairy and eggs) and non-vege- tarians can help iden- tify the effects of meat and other animal products. The weak- ness of this “observa- tional” approach is that factors other than diet—such as physical activity, air pollution, use of legal and illegalMeatless meals offer an incredible variety of tastes, textures, and drugs, and cigarettesmells. smoking—affect dis-ease rates as well. Scientists try to account for those kinds of factors, but it isimpossible to know about and account for everything.
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 23Seventh-day Adventists Eat a More Plant-Based Diet and Live Longer andHealthier LivesSeventh-day Adventists (SDAs), whose religion advocates abstinence frommeat and poultry as well as alcohol and tobacco, have provided invalu-able evidence on lifestyle and health.22 About half of American SDAs fol-low a vegetarian diet or eat meat less than once a week. About one-quarterof SDAs follow a meatless lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, which includes dairyproducts and eggs, and about 3 percent are vegan. Generally, even non-veg-etarian SDAs eat less meat than does the average American. Vegetarian ornot, SDAs also tend to be physically active and eschew tobacco and alco-hol. So, by comparing vegetarian and non-vegetarian SDAs and adjustingfor factors such as smoking, physical activity, and alcohol, the effects of avegetarian diet can be teased out. Vegetarian SDAs may also be comparedto the general population to shed light on the health effects of a lacto-ovovegetarian diet. SDAs, on average, consume less saturated fat and cholesterol and moredietary fiber than the average American.23 They eat more fruit, green salads,whole wheat bread, and margarine and less meat, cream, coffee, butter, andwhite bread. The same is true of vegetarian SDAs compared to non-vegetar-ian SDAs.24 Key findings from studies of SDAs include the following: Longevity. Vegetarian SDA women live 2.5 years longer than non- vegetarian SDA women; vegetarian SDA men live 3.2 years longer than their non-vegetarian counterparts.25 Heart attacks. Non-vegetarian SDA men have twice the rate of fatal heart attacks as vegetarian SDA men.26 Similarly, the risk of fatal heart disease is more than twice as high for men who eat beef more than three times a week as for vegetarians.27 However, beef consumption or vegetarianism does not clearly affect the risk of heart disease in women.28 Stroke. SDAs in the Netherlands have about a 45 percent lower death rate from strokes than the total Dutch population.29 Cholesterol. Among African American SDAs, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides (the most common fat found in blood) were lower in vegans than in lacto-ovo vegetarians.30 Both of those fatty substances promote heart attacks. Hypertension. Hypertension, which increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes, is twice as common in non-vegetarian SDAs as in vegetar- ians; semi-vegetarians (those who eat fish and poultry less than once a week) had intermediate rates.31 Those findings apply to both men and women. When hypertension was defined as “taking antihypertensive
  • 24 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet medication” (those with more severe hypertension), non-vegetarians had almost three times the rate of hypertension as vegetarians.32 Diabetes. Diabetes is twice as common in non-vegetarian SDAs, whether male or female, as in vegetarians, with semi-vegetarians having an inter- mediate prevalence.33 Cancer. Prostate cancer is 54 percent, and colon cancer is 88 percent, more common in non-vegetarian than in vegetarian SDAs.34 Some of those health benefits may be due not to particular nutrients inplant foods, but to the fact that bulky plant-based diets help reduce bodyweight. For example, for the average 5’10” male SDA, non-vegetarians weighan average of 14 pounds more than vegetarians. For 5’4” female SDAs, non-vegetarians weigh 12 pounds more than vegetarians.35Vegetarians Have Less Heart Disease, Hypertension, and DiabetesStudies of non-SDA vegetarians yield similar results. For example, the USDA’s1994–95 Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals asked more than13,000 people whether they considered themselves to be vegetarian.36 Self-defined vegetarians whose diets did not include meat made up 0.9 percentof this nationally representative sample. Compared to non-vegetarians,the self-defined vegetarians tended to consume less fat, saturated fat, andcholesterol and more fiber. Self-defined vegetarians also ate more grains,legumes, vegetables, and fruit. In addition, they consumed fewer caloriesand had lower BMIs (body mass index, which combines height and weight)than non-vegetarians.37 Several large studies in Europe have examined the health of vegetar-ians. The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition(EPIC) is an ongoing study involving over 500,000 people in 10 countries.The part of that study being conducted in the United Kingdom (EPIC-Oxford) involves more than 34,000 non-vegetarians and close to 33,000non-meat-eaters (including people who eat fish, lacto-ovo vegetarians, andvegans).38 Another British study, the Oxford Vegetarian Study, compared6,000 vegetarians to 5,000 non-vegetarians.39 (More than half of the non-vegetarian subjects in that study did not eat meat daily and, therefore, werenot typical of the general British population.) Findings from those studiesand similar ones include the following: Cholesterol. Vegans have 28 percent lower LDL cholesterol levels than meat-eaters. Lacto-ovo vegetarians and fish-eaters have levels between those of vegans and meat-eaters.40 Based on blood cholesterol levels, the researchers estimated that heart disease rates would be 24 percent lower
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 25 in lifelong vegetarians and 57 percent lower in lifelong vegans than in meat-eaters. Heart disease. Vegetarians have a 28 percent lower death rate from heart disease than meat-eaters.41 Blood pressure. Vegetarians have lower blood pressure and a lower rate of hypertension than non-vegetarians. Vegans have the lowest blood pres- sure and the least hypertension, followed by vegetarians and fish-eat- ers; non-vegetarians have the highest rates of hypertension.42 (Differ- ences in body weight were responsible for about half of the variation in blood pressure; alcohol consumption and vigorous exercise accounted for some of the variation in men.43) The EPIC-Oxford study found hyper- tension rates of 9 percent in lacto-ovo vegetarians and 13 percent in non-vegetarians.44 Diabetes. Mortality from diabetes is markedly lower for vegetarians (and for health-conscious non-vegetarians) than for the general population.45 As with the SDAs, some of the European vegetarians’ health advan-tages are likely due to lower rates of obesity.46 For instance, in the OxfordVegetarian Study, overweight or obesity (BMI > 25) was twice as common innon-vegetarian men, and 1½ times more common in non-vegetarian women,as in vegetarians.47 In a Swedish study of middle-aged women, the risk ofobesity was 65 percent lower in vegans, 46 percent lower in lacto-vegetar-ians (those who avoid meat, fish, poultry, and eggs), and 48 percent lowerin semi-vegetarians compared to non-vegetarians.48 On average, vegetar-ians are leaner than their non-vegetarian counterparts by about 1 BMI unit Meta-Analysis Find Vegetarians Have Less Heart Disease Meta-analysis is a powerful statistical technique that combines the results from a number of similar studies into a single, large analysis. If done properly, such an analysis can provide more conclusive results than any single study. A meta-analysis of five studies (the Adventist Mortality Study, Health Food Shoppers Study, Adven- tist Health Study, Heidelberg Study, and Oxford Vegetarian Study) included a total of 76,172 vegetarians (both lacto-ovo vegetarians and vegans) and non-vegetarians with similar lifestyles.49 The vegetarians had a 24 percent lower rate of fatal heart attacks than non-vegetarians. When compared to people who ate meat at least weekly, mortality from heart disease was 20 percent lower in occasional meat- eaters, 34 percent lower in those who ate fish but not meat, 34 percent lower in lacto-ovo vegetarians, and 26 percent lower in vegans. (The data on vegans may not be reliable, because the meta-analysis included only 753 vegans.) The meta- analysis did not find any difference in death rates from stroke or cancer between the vegetarians and non-vegetarians.
  • 26 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet(roughly 6 pounds).50 Differences in rates of obesity and BMI may be due tovegetarians’ higher intake of fiber and lower intake of animal fat, althoughother unknown factors also appear to be involved.51 In sum, several large studies have found that vegetarians enjoy lowerrisks of major chronic diseases and longer lives than non-vegetarians. Thatis not surprising, considering that vegetarians have lower rates of obesity,lower saturated fat and cholesterol intakes, higher fiber intakes, and lowertotal and LDL cholesterol levels. Vegetarians’ somewhat greater physicalactivity also plays a role. Smoking clearly is an important risk factor, butmost recent studies adjust for it, as well as for age, alcohol use, and otherreadily identified factors. It is always possible, of course, that vegetariansmay differ from other people in ways not accounted for in the studies. Though the numbers of vegans in the studies are small, they tendto have lower serum total and LDL cholesterol, less hypertension, and alower prevalence of obesity than lacto-ovo vegetarians. However, thereis no evidence that vegans live longer than lacto-ovo vegetarians andsemi-vegetarians.52Followers of a “Prudent” Diet Are Less Likely to Have Heart DiseaseOther major studies have found important connections between dietarypatterns and heart disease. The ongoing Nurses’ Health Study, which ismanaged by the Harvard School of Public Health, compared a “prudent”diet, with higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fish,and poultry, to the “Western” pattern, which is high in red and processed(sausage, bacon, and the like) meats, sweets, desserts, fried foods, and refinedgrains. After 12 years, among the more than 69,000 participants, the womenwho ate prudent diets were 36 percent less likely to develop heart diseasethan those who ate typical Western diets.53 In a similar study of almost 45,000male health professionals, a prudent diet was associated with about a 30 per-cent lower risk of developing heart disease or of dying from a heart attack.54Intervention Studies Demonstrate Benefits of Low-Fat Vegetarian DietsThe bottom line from observational studies is that diets based more on plantfoods—and that means carrots, not carrot cake—pay big health dividends.But the limitation of those studies is that vegetarians and other health-conscious individuals might be doing things besides eating more plantfoods and fewer animal products that are the real reasons for their betterhealth. Intervention studies overcome that limitation. The best way to study the effect of diet on chronic disease is to assignparticipants randomly to two or more different diets. Such “intervention”
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 27studies include those in which subjects were placed on vegetarian or otherkinds of diets, thus allowing researchers to evaluate the diets’ relativestrengths and weaknesses.Low-Fat Vegetarian Diets Can Lower Blood Pressure and Decrease theRisk of Heart DiseaseVegetarian diets have proven to be remarkably beneficial for people whohave cardiovascular disease. For instance, switching from ordinary omniv-orous diets to a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet with similar sodium content butmore fiber, calcium, and potassium reduced the blood pressure in subjectswho had either normal or high blood pressure.55 Differences in the kinds offat, as well as the levels of minerals, in the vegetarian and non-vegetariandiets may have accounted for some of the differences in blood pressure.56 Several recent intervention studies examined the effect of a near-vegandiet high in phytosterols and soluble fiber on blood cholesterol levels.57Phytosterols are plant-based substances with a chemical structure related tocholesterol; they are added to some margarines, yogurts, and orange juice toreduce cholesterol absorption. The soluble fiber in such foods as oats, barley,psyllium, eggplant, and okra forms thick, sticky solutions that increase theexcretion from the body of bile acids and lower blood cholesterol levels. David Jenkins and colleagues at the University of Toronto placed peoplewith high blood cholesterol levels on either (1) a near-vegan diet high inphytosterols, soluble fiber, and soy protein; (2) a low-saturated-fat lacto-ovovegetarian diet; or (3) the latter diet along with a cholesterol-lowering statindrug. The diet that included phytosterols, soluble fiber, and soy proteinimproved cholesterol levels just as much as the lacto-ovo vegetarian dietplus the statin. Judging fromthe subjects’ changes in cho-lesterol levels, blood pressure,and other measures, the near-vegan diet led to a 32 percentlower risk of heart diseasethan the lacto-ovo vegetariandiet. The near-vegan diet pre-sumably had a greater effectbecause of the soluble fiber,phytosterols, and possibly soyprotein (but see “Soy Foods:No Health Miracle,” on p. 39). Morale-boosting communal dinners likely contribute to theJenkins notes, “There is hope success of the CHIP heart-health program (see next page).
  • 28 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietthat these diets may provide a non-pharmacologic treatment option forselected individuals at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.”58 Based in part on the Toronto studies, the National Cholesterol Educa-tion Program, a part of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, rec-ommended a combination of statins and dietary modifications for patientswith high LDL cholesterol levels (above 130 milligrams per deciliter).59 Hans Diehl, a health educator at the Lifestyle Medical Institute inLoma Linda, California, has developed a community-based CoronaryHealth Improvement Project (CHIP) that involves hundreds of people ata time. CHIP encourages participants to switch to a near-vegan, low-fatdiet (though most participants make more modest changes) and engagein walking or other physical activities.60 After only a few weeks on the The DASH and Mediterranean Diets The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) intervention study used a more plant-based, but not vegetarian, diet. DASH examined the effects of a diet that includes twice the average daily consumption of fruits, vegetables, and low- fat dairy products; one-third the usual intake of red meat; half the typical use of fats, oils, and salad dressings; and one-quarter the typical number of unhealthy snacks and sweets. It emphasizes whole grains and severely limits salt (see “Chang- ing Your Own Diet,” p. 143, for more about this diet). Compared to a typical Ameri- can diet, the DASH diet lowers blood cholesterol, blood pressure, and the risk of cardiovascular disease.61 A major strength of this study was that the subjects were given all their meals, so the researchers knew exactly what they were eating. A prominent French study, the Lyon Diet Heart Study, tested the effect on heart disease of a Mediterranean-type diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, bread and other grains, potatoes, beans, nuts, seeds, and olive oil and contains only modest amounts of animal products. In subjects who had already had a heart attack, the Mediterranean diet led to 50 to 70 percent fewer deaths, strokes, and other complications compared to those following a “prudent” Western-type diet.62 Interestingly, blood cholesterol levels and cigarette use were similar in the two groups, indicating that other factors—possibly the threefold higher level of alpha- linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, in the experimental group—play important health roles. Also, weight loss was not responsible for the dramatic benefit—a finding unlike those in some other studies. Harvard Medical School professor Alex- ander Leaf commented that this “well-conducted” study showed that “relatively simple dietary changes achieved greater reductions in risk of all-cause and coro- nary heart disease mortality in a secondary prevention trial than any of the cho- lesterol-lowering [drug] studies to date.”63 He also noted that the subjects readily adhered to this diet.
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 29program, participants typically eat more fruits and vegetables and lesssaturated fat and cholesterol than a control group. In one study, comparedto the controls, the participants’ average LDL cholesterol level declined by14 percent.64 Subjects who changed their diets also lost an average of 7½pounds, and their rate of hypertension dropped in half. The CHIP studyshows that a health-promotion program can provide enormous benefits tolarge groups of people in a cost-effective way.Diet and Exercise Can Reverse Heart DiseaseDean Ornish, of the University of California in San Francisco, and his col-leagues have done ground-breaking studies in patients with moderate tosevere heart disease. The researchers prescribe a very-low-fat vegetariandiet (containing no animal products except nonfat dairy products and eggwhites), along with moderate aerobic exercise, smoking cessation, and stressreduction. That regimen significantlyimproved cholesterol levels, at least Fighting Prostate Cancertemporarily. It also began unclogging with Lifestylearteries and preventing angina (thechest pain that occurs when the heart Prostate cancer, which kills 30,000muscle does not get enough blood) American men each year, may beand heart attacks. Lipid-lowering 65 controlled with lifestyle changes,statin drugs were not needed. The including a low-fat vegan diet. Dean Ornish and his colleagues at the Uni-lifestyle changes were as effective as versity of California “treated” withcoronary bypass surgery in reducing diet, fish oil and other supplements,angina. The subjects who ate the low- exercise, and other lifestyle changesfat vegetarian diet and made other half of a group of 93 volunteers withlifestyle changes lost an average of early prostate cancer. The other24 pounds, which was undoubtedly half received the usual care. Afteran important factor in their improved one year, prostate-specific anti-health. gen, one index of prostate cancer, In another study by Ornish’s decreased 4 percent in the treat-research group, 440 men and women ment group but increased 6 percentwith coronary artery disease ate in the control group. The cancerthe same largely vegetarian diet progressed sufficiently in six men inand made the prescribed lifestyle the control group, but in none in thechanges. After one year, the subjects 66 experimental group, to warrant con-enjoyed reduced blood lipids (13 per- ventional medical therapy.67cent lower LDL cholesterol in men,16 percent lower in women), blood pressure (1 to 2 percent reduction in sys-tolic blood pressure), and weight (5 percent in men, 7 percent in women).
  • 30 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet In a smaller but much longer study, Caldwell Esselstyn of the Cleve- land Clinic monitored 18 patients with severe coronary artery disease.68 Most of them had suf- fered coronary problems after a previous bypass surgery or angioplasty.Decades of eating fatty meat and dairy products can turn healthyarteries (like the opened and flattened human aorta at left) into All of those who ate anones afflicted with severe atherosclerosis (right). almost entirely plant-based diet had no recurrence of coronary events over 12 years (a few patientstook low doses of statin drugs some of the time). One patient who “fell offthe wagon” had a heart attack and then resumed the program. The coronaryarteries of 70 percent of the patients studied became less clogged. In Dr. Es-selstyn’s words, his patients had become “virtually heart-attack proof.” One concern about diets high in carbohydrates is that they tend to raisetriglycerides and lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good” choles-terol), a prescription for heart disease. However, in China and Japan, wheretraditional diets are very high in carbohydrates, heart disease is almostnonexistent. That’s probably because most Chinese and Japanese peoplehave been lean and active—very different from the typical American. Inaddition, studies by Dean Ornish and David Jenkins of North Americansare reassuring. They found that diets high in carbohydrates from wholegrains and beans, but low in white flour and sugar, led to major reduc-tions in LDL cholesterol but had little or no effect on triglycerides and HDLcholesterol. The fact that Ornish’s subjects were moderately active and lostweight undoubtedly helped. Ornish speculates that even when high-carbo-hydrate diets lower HDL cholesterol, that does not increase the risk of heartdisease, while the low HDL cholesterol levels seen in people whose dietsare high in refined sugars and starches do promote heart disease.69A More Plant-Based Diet Can Treat Type 2 DiabetesLow-fat vegetarian diets can treat type 2 diabetes, a terrible and increas-ingly common disease that causes everything from blindness to gangrene(and amputations) to heart disease. In one 26-day study of 652 people withdiabetes, more than one-third of the insulin-using subjects who adopted alow-fat vegetarian diet were able to discontinue the insulin. Close to three-quarters of those on the vegetarian diet who were taking oral hypoglycemic
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 31medicines were able to stop taking them.70 The vegetarian diet also yieldeda 22 percent reduction in serum cholesterol and a 33 percent reduction intriglycerides. Some of those benefits were likely due to the subjects’ losingan average of 8 pounds. A study that combined a low-fat, high-fiber vegan diet with dailyexercise and weight loss (11 pounds in 25 days) was also highly successfulin treating type 2 diabetes.71 The lifestyle changes eliminated the painrelated to diabetes-caused nerve damage in most of the subjects. It alsoreduced fasting blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and the need formedications. The results of intervention studies strongly indicate that a largely plant-based diet provides tremendous benefits—sometimes even as great as thoseachieved by powerful prescription drugs or surgery. Though some of thosestudies also involved relaxation, exercise, or low levels of drugs, diets con-sisting mostly of nutritious plant-based foods clearly are extremely effectiveat preventing or treating chronic diseases. The benefits include reductionsin blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood glucose, clogging ofarteries, and—most importantly—less cardiovascular disease and type 2diabetes. Building on that body of research, leading health agencies in the UnitedStates and abroad have developed quite similar dietary advice (see table 2).They stress the benefits from beans, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, andseafood, along with physical activity, and the harm that is associated withfatty meat and dairy products. What Specific Foods Should We Be Eating—and Avoiding?The studies we have discussed com-pared the health effects of widely dif-ferent diets. Researchers also havestudied the health benefits and risks ofspecific food groups, such as fruits andvegetables, and meat.Fruits and VegetablesAmericans are eating slightly morefruits and vegetables today than thepaltry amounts we ate 35 years ago,but still far less than the recommended5 to 10 servings per day. Fruits and
  • 32 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Table 2. Health experts’ advice on diet, physical activity, and chronic disease72 Disease What increases risk What decreases risk  Saturated fat (especially meat and  Vegetables, fruitsDG, WHO dairy)DG, WHO  Whole grainsDG, WHO  Cholesterol (meat, dairy fat, egg  LegumesWHO yolks)DG, WHO  Fish, fish oilDG, WHO  Trans fatDG, WHO  FiberDG, WHO  SaltDG, WHO  Linoleic acidWHO Heart  Obesity/overweightDG, WHO  Alpha-linolenic acidWHO disease  Sedentary lifestyleDG, WHO  Oleic acidWHO  Nuts (unsalted)WHO  Physical activityDG, WHO  PotassiumWHO  Plant sterols/stanolsWHO  FolateWHO  Obesity/overweight ACS, DG, WHO  Vegetables, fruitsACS, DG, WHO  Alcohol ACS, DG, WHO  Increased fluidACS Cancer*  Meat (fresh and preserved) ACS, WHO  Physical activityACS, DG, WHO  Dairy products (high-fat ) † ACS  Sedentary lifestyleDG  SaltDG  Vegetables, fruitsDG Stroke  Obesity/overweight DG  PotassiumWHO  Alcohol WHO  Obesity/overweightDG, WHO  Vegetables, fruitsDG  Saturated fat (meat, dairy products)WHO  Whole grainsWHO Type 2  Sedentary lifestyle DG, WHO  LegumesWHO diabetes  Physical activityDG, WHO  Dietary fiberWHO  SaltDG  Vegetables, fruitsWHO Hyper-  Obesity/overweight DG  LegumesWHO tension  Sedentary lifestyle DG  PotassiumDG  Alcohol DG  Physical activityDG  Sedentary lifestyleDG, WHO  Physical activityDG, WHO  Empty-calorie foods, such as sugar-  Dietary fiberDG, WHO Obesity sweetened soft drinks and fruit drinks  Whole grainsDG (high in calories, low in nutrients)DG, WHO  Added sugarsDG Note: Experts are the American Cancer Society (ACS), Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DG), and the World Health Organization (WHO). * Varies by site. See table 3, p. 34, for details. † See “…But Linked to Heart Disease and Various Cancers,” p. 44, for updated information about dairy foods and prostate cancer.
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 33vegetables not only are loaded with nutrients, but they also help push lessnutritious foods out of our diets.Help Fight Heart Disease and StrokeSeveral studies have found that both men and women who consume themost fruits and vegetables have the lowest levels of bad cholesterol anda reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease—generally 5 to 30 percentlower than those consuming the smallest amounts.73 Of course, when peo-ple eat more produce, they inevitably eat less of something else, possiblymeat or another source of saturated fat and cholesterol. Yet fruits and veg-etables have benefits on their own,judging from studies that adjusted formeat intake.74 A Finnish study found that mid-dle-aged men who ate the most fruitsand vegetables had a 41 percent lowerrisk of dying from heart disease thanthose who ate the fewest.75 Similarly,a U.S. study found a 27 percent lowermortality from cardiovascular diseasein adults eating fruits and vegetablesthree or more times daily comparedto those eating them less than oncea day.76 A meta-analysis (see “Meta-Analysis Find Vegetarians Have LessHeart Disease,” p. 25) of 14 studies found that each increase in fruit andvegetable intake of about 5 ounces—one generous serving—per day wasassociated with a 16 percent lower mortality from cardiovascular disease.77 One way that fruits and vegetables fight cardiovascular disease is bylowering blood pressure.78 A 15-year-long study of more than 4,000 youngmen and women found that people who ate more plant foods, especiallyfruit, were less likely to develop elevated blood pressure. In a meta-analysisthat combined seven long-term studies, each additional serving of fruit wasassociated with an 11 percent decrease in the risk of stroke. Vegetables hada similar effect.Play a Role in Cancer PreventionFruits and vegetables appear to play a modest role in cancer prevention.79Eating more of those foods probably reduces the risk of mouth, esophageal,and stomach cancers.80 The World Health Organization recommends con-suming at least 14 ounces (about four servings) per day of fruits and veg-
  • 34 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietetables to reduce the risk of cancer.81 The National Cancer Institute’s 5 ADay for Better Health Program urges people to eat between five and nineservings of fruits and vegetables a day, depending on sex and age. Experts’conclusions about the effect of what we eat on various kinds of cancer aresummarized in table 3. In general, fruits, vegetables, and physical activityare associated with lower risks of certain cancers, while alcohol, a seden-tary lifestyle, and red meat and dairy foods appear to increase the risk ofcertain cancers. Table 3. Health experts’ advice on diet, physical activity, and cancer82 Cancer site What increases risk What decreases risk Bladder  Increased fluid intakeACS  Overweight or obesity in  Physical activityACS Breast postmenopausal womenACS, WHO  AlcoholACS, DG, WHO  Overweight or obesityACS, WHO  Physical activityACS, DG, WHO  Preserved/processed meat WHO Colon, rectum  Red meat ACS  AlcoholACS Endometrium  Overweight or obesityACS, WHO  Physical activityACS  Alcohol ACS, DG, WHO  Vegetables, fruitsACS, DG, WHO Esophagus  Overweight or obesity ACS, WHO Gall bladder  Overweight or obesityACS Kidney  Overweight or obesityACS, WHO Larynx  Alcohol ACS, WHO  Vegetables, fruitsDG Liver  Alcohol ACS, WHO  Alcohol ACS, DG, WHO  Vegetables, fruitsACS, DG, WHO Mouth Ovary  Vegetables, fruitsACS Pancreas  Overweight or obesityACS  Vegetables, fruitsACS Pharynx  Alcohol ACS, WHO  Vegetables, fruitsDG  Dairy products (high-fat*)ACS Prostate  High calcium intake mainly through supplementsACS Stomach  Vegetables, fruitsDG, WHO Notes: Experts are the American Cancer Society (ACS), Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DG), and the World Health Organization (WHO). Stronger associations are in boldface. * See “…But Linked to Heart Disease and Various Cancers,” p. 44, for updated information about dairy foods and prostate cancer.
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 35 Walter Willett, chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard Schoolof Public Health, sums up the evidence this way: Advice to eat five servings per day of fruits and vegetables … remains sound because a modest reduction in cancer risk is likely, and benefits for cardiovascular disease have become even better established. However, no one should expect substantial reductions in cancer incidence from eating more fruits and vegetables without attention to cigarette smoking, weight control, and regular physical activity.83Help in Weight LossWith obesity such a major problem in industrialized, and even many devel-oping, nations, scientists have tried to identify the foods that contribute toor prevent weight gain. Intervention studies indicate that substituting fruitsand vegetables for foods with higher-calorie densities—such as fatty meats,cheese, and candy—can help with weight loss.84 Beth Carlton Tohill, of theU.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, notes that “Dietary inter-ventions of low ED [energy-density] diets (low fat and high in fruits andvegetables) led to spontaneous weight loss.”85 Longer-term observational studies also indicate that eating moreproduce can fend off weight gain. Four studies involving more than100,000 adults in all reported an association between higher fruit andvegetable intake and lower weight.86 Similarly, a survey of more than420,000 American adults found that people with a normal weight consume more fruits and vegetables than people who are overweight or obese.87 (Some studies unfortunately count fried pota- toes and fruit juice, which are high in calories, along with “real” fruits and vegetables, obscuring links between the healthiest fruits and vegetables and body weight.88) Boast Other Health Benefits Some studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables are associ- ated with a reduced risk of type 2 dia- betes and greater bone density.89 The World Health Organization notes that such nutrients as vitamin K, potas- sium, manganese, and boron, all
  • 36 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Super-Star Fruits and Vegetables It is possible that only specific fruits and vegetables, rather than those entire food groups, reduce cancer risks. For example:  Tomatoes, possibly because of their carotenoid lycopene, are associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer.90  Citrus fruits and other sources of the carotenoid beta-cryptoxanthin may reduce the risk of lung cancer.91  Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower may protect against bladder cancer.92 Such findings have led researchers to urge people to focus especially on eating more of certain vegetables and fruits.93 For instance, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the U.S. government’s authoritative nutrition advice, recommends increased consumption of dark green vegetables, orange vegetables, and legumes. Just eating more French fries and iceberg lettuce won’t help.found in fruits and vegetables, are associated with a decreased risk of bonefracture.94 The 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee concluded: Greater consumption of fruits and vegetables (5–13 servings or 2½–6½ cups per day depending on calorie needs) is associated with a reduced risk of stroke and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases, with a reduced risk of cancers in certain sites (oral cavity and pharynx, larynx, lung, esophagus, stomach, and colon-rectum), and with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (vegetables more than fruit). Moreover, increased consumption of fruits and vegetables may be a useful component of programs designed to achieve and sustain weight loss.95Those conclusions led to these key recommendations in the Dietary Guide-lines for Americans: Consume a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables while staying within energy needs. Two cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables per day are recommended for a reference 2,000-calorie intake, with higher or lower amounts depending on the calorie level.
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 37 Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. In particular, select from all five vegetable subgroups (dark green, orange, legumes, starchy veg- etables, and other vegetables) several times a week.96Whole GrainsWhole grains are grains that have not been processed to remove the high-fiber bran and germ, which contain much of the protein, vitamins, and min-erals. Whole grains are excellent sources of B vitamins, vitamin E, fiber,zinc, iron, other minerals, and a multitude of phytochemicals; these lastare naturally occurring chemicals in plants. Many of those substances arelargely lost when grain is refined, leaving mostly starch behind. In the United States, four of the B vitamins and iron are added back to “enriched” grains, but that does not fully compensate for the losses. While the aver- age American eats 11 servings of grains daily, only 1 of those servings is wholegrain. Only 7 percent of Americans eat at least three servings a day ofwhole grains.97 Instead, virtually all of the grain foods we eat (bread, pasta,cereals, crackers, cookies) are made from white flour, rice is usually whiterice, and corn meal is usually degermed.Decrease the Risk of Cardiovascular DiseaseEating more whole grains appears to reduce the risk of both heart diseaseand stroke.98 James W. Anderson, at the Metabolic Research Center at theUniversity of Kentucky, did a meta-analysis of 13 epidemiology studies andconcluded that people who ate the most whole grains had a 29 percent lowerrisk for heart disease than those who ate the least. Even more impressivewas the benefit of whole grains in women who never smoked. The Nurses’Health Study found that non-smokers who consumed about three servingsof whole grains a day had only half the risk of developing heart disease aswomen who almost never ate whole grains. In addition, eating more wholegrains was associated with a one-third lower risk of ischemic stroke—thekind of stroke that occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery in the brain.
  • 38 • Six Arguments for a Greener DietDecrease the Risk of DiabetesThree large epidemiology studies indicated that whole grains stronglyprotect against diabetes.99 The risk of diabetes was about 25 percent lowerfor people who ate the most whole grains. Another study found that over-weight adults who ate 6 to 10 servings of whole grains a day had lowerinsulin levels than when they ate refined grains.100 Lower insulin levels canreduce the risk of both diabetes and heart disease.Clean Out the SystemFinally, eating more whole-grain foods could spare millions of people fromconstipation and other gastrointestinal problems. The fiber in whole grainsreduces constipation by increasing fecal bulk, softening stools, and speed-ing the passage of food through the intestinal tract.101 In contrast, low-fiberdiets lead to hard stools that require a great deal of straining to pass. Thatstraining can lead to increased pressure in the colon and result in diverticu-lar disease (diverticulosis and diverticulitis) and hemorrhoids.102 While fiber-rich whole grains were once thought to prevent colon can-cer, recent studies indicate that that is unlikely.Nuts—Protect Against Heart DiseaseSeveral studies strongly suggest that nuts (including peanuts, whichaccount for two-thirds of all the nuts Americans consume) protect againstheart disease.103 In one study, individuals who ate nuts one to four timesweekly had a 22 percent lower risk of heart attack than those eating nutsless than once a week. Eating nuts five or more times per week was associ-ated with a 51 percent lower risk. Those results were consistent in men andwomen and in younger and older people. In other studies, both walnutsand almonds had a cholesterol-lowering effect when they replaced meat,cheese, or other dairy products. Nuts’ health benefits are likely due, in part, to their monounsaturatedand polyunsaturated fatty acid content; those fats lower LDL cholesterol.104Other factors may be involved as well, because, as Penny Kris-Etherton andher colleagues at Penn State University found, the effects of nuts on bloodcholesterol are greater than predicted on the basis of their fat composition.Other compounds in nuts that may protect against heart disease includedietary fiber, vitamin E, folic acid, copper, magnesium, potassium, arginine,phytochemicals, and plant sterols. The Food and Drug Administration(FDA) has concluded that “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove Peanuts technically are legumes, which are discussed below.
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 39that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturatedfat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.” The main concernabout nuts is their high calorie content. It’s easy to eat too many nuts, whichcould lead to weight gain.Legumes (Beans)—Lower the Risk of Heart DiseaseLegumes include dried beans and peas, such as pinto beans, kidney beans,chickpeas, soybeans, and peanuts. (Peanuts account for almost half of allthe legumes Americans eat.105) Legumes are nutritional powerhouses, andgreater consumption of themis strongly associated with alower risk of heart disease.106James W. Anderson and hiscolleagues at the Universityof Kentucky and the VeteransAdministration Medical Cen-ter in Lexington, Kentucky,reviewed 11 clinical trialsthat examined the effects oflegumes (not including soy-beans and peanuts) on bloodlipids. They found that total blood cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levelsdropped by 6 to 7 percent when 1½ to 5 ounces per day of navy beans, pintobeans, chickpeas, kidney beans, or lentils were included in the usual diet.107(In some studies, legumes replaced pasta or other starchy foods, while inothers they were just added to the diet.) The Kentucky researchers specu-lated that legumes’ soluble fiber, vegetable protein, folic acid, thiamin, oli-gosaccharides, and antioxidants may all play a role. Researchers at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropi-cal Medicine found that men and women who ate legumes four or more Soy Foods: No Health Miracle Some people claim that soybeans—a dietary staple in China, Japan, and certain other Asian countries—reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and other conditions. However, recent studies indicate that the effect of soy prod- ucts on LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and blood pressure is trivial.108 It is not clear whether they protect against cancer.109 Soy foods also do not appear to benefit postmenopausal women in terms of bone density and cognitive function.110 Soy products’ main health benefit may be that those foods can replace animal prod- ucts that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • 40 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diettimes per week had a 22 percent lower risk of heart disease than peoplewho ate legumes less than once a week.111 The reduced risk of heart diseasewas not just due to the bean-eaters’ eating less meat and poultry. Anotherstudy, this involving people in Japan, Sweden, Greece, and Australia, foundthat every 20-gram increase in daily legume consumption was associatedwith about a 7 percent lower risk of death.112Beef and Other Red MeatBeef is a rich source of important nutrients, including protein, vitamin B12and other B vitamins, iron, and zinc. Heme iron, the form of iron found inmeat, fish, and poultry, is easily absorbed and can help maintain iron statusand prevent anemia. Zinc is also well absorbed from meat. Unfortunately,those nutrients—which can also be obtained from plant sources, fortifiedfoods, or dietary supplements—are often accompanied by hefty amounts ofsaturated fat and cholesterol. Nutritionally, that is beef’s Achilles’ heel. The Fatty Flaws of Meat and Dairy Foods Saturated Fat Animal products account for at least half of the saturated fat Americans eat every day (palm oil also is high in saturated fat). The figure shows the top 10 sources of saturated fat by percentage.113 Cheese Saturated fat boosts LDL cholesterol 13% in blood, thereby increasing the risk Other Beef of heart disease.114 Some studies also 35% 12% link saturated fat to diabetes.115 In contrast, unsaturated fats from liquid 8% Milk vegetable oils protect against heart disease. 4% 5% Poultry 5% Oils 4% Salad dressings, 4% 5% 5% Since even small amounts of satu- Ice cream mayonnaise rated fat increase the risk of heart Butter Cakes Other fats disease, and there is no need for that fat in the diet, the Institute of Medi- cine of the National Academy of Sciences did not set a “safe” intake level.116 How- ever, because small amounts of saturated fat occur in everything from corn oil to whole wheat bread, it is impossible and even undesirable for people to try to reduce their intake to zero. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that healthy people consume no more than 10 percent (compared to the current 11 percent) of their calories from saturated fat. People with elevated LDL choles-
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 41Raise the Risks of Heart Attack and HypertensionSome studies have linked high meat consumption to an increased risk ofchronic disease. For example, Frank Sacks and his colleagues at Harvardand the Framingham Heart Study added about 8 ounces of beef to the dailydiet of strict vegetarians (vegans) in place of an amount of grains that pro-vided the same number of calories. After four weeks, the subjects’ averageblood cholesterol level rose 19 percent.121 Presumably, beef’s saturated fatand cholesterol were the culprits. Lean beef likely would have had a smallereffect. Beef’s role in causing heart disease was also indicated in a study ofSeventh-day Adventists, as noted earlier. Men who consumed beef three ormore times per week had more than twice the risk of a fatal heart attack asmen who never ate beef.122 Beef consumption also boosts blood pressure.123 Sacks’s clinical studymentioned above found that replacing grains with beef increased the sub- terol are advised to limit their intake to 7 percent of their calories (that is actually good advice for everyone).117 The best way to cut back is to eat less fatty dairy products and meat. Cholesterol Cholesterol occurs only in animal products, including egg yolks, dairy products, shellfish and fish, and meat. The figure shows the top 10 sources of cholesterol by percentage. Cholesterol is in both the lean and fatty parts of meat, so choosing lean meat helps lower saturated fat, but not cholesterol, intake. Our bodies produce all the cho- Other 17% lesterol they need. Sausage 29% Eggs 2% Ice cream 3% Dietary cholesterol increases Pork 3% LDL cholesterol levels in blood Cakes, cookies 3% and the risk of heart disease.118 Fish, 4% The average cholesterol intake shellfish 5% Milk 16% for middle-aged (19–50 years 6% Cheese 12% Beef old) men is around 350 milli- Poultry grams and for women 210 mil- ligrams.119 While official recom- mendations120 are to limit cholesterol to 300 milligrams daily—200 milligrams or less for people with elevated LDL cholesterol—the less cholesterol consumed, the better. However, small amounts—from poached salmon, skinless chicken, or even an occasional egg yolk—are not a problem.
  • 42 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietjects’ systolic blood pressure by 3 percent in just four weeks. When thou-sands of women were monitored for several years in the Nurses’ HealthStudy, eating more beef and processed meats was associated with a highersystolic blood pressure. Furthermore, a study of several thousand youngadults found that people who ate more beef and pork were likelier todevelop elevated blood pressure.Raise the Risk of CancerAccording to the American Cancer Society, red meat may increase the riskof cancer of the colon and rectum.124 Similarly, the World Health Organi-zation advises that high intakes of red and processed meats “probably”increase the risk of those cancers. A major study by the American Cancer Society examined more than148,000 adults who had provided dietary information 9 and 19 years ear-lier.125 People who ate the most beef and pork at both points in time had thehighest risk of rectal cancer. Those who ate the most processed meat—suchas ham and bacon—also had a higher risk of cancer in the part of the largeintestine closest to the rectum. In other studies, Seventh-day Adventist men and women who ate redmeat one or more times a week had almost twice the risk of colon canceras those who never ate red meat.126 The EPIC study, which is tracking dietand disease in half a million Europeans, found that eating more red meat and processed meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer.127 Eating more than about 7 ounces per day of those meats was associated with a one- third increase in colon cancer. Processed meat appears to be more harmful than red meat. A meta-analysis of almost two dozen studies indicatedConsumption of red meat—especially processed meats— a 35 percent increased risk ofincreases the risk of colon cancer and possibly cancer ofthe pancreas. colon cancer in people who ate red meat and a 31 percentincrease in people who ate processed meat compared to those who ate littleor no meat.128 Every 3½-ounce-per-day increase in consumption of red meatwas associated with about a 15 percent increased risk of colon cancer, whileevery 1-ounce increase in daily consumption of processed meat was associ-ated with almost a 49 percent higher risk.129
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 43 New research suggests that red meat—especially processed red meat—also increases the risk of pancreatic cancer.130 Whether it’s the meat itself orcontaminants or additives introduced into the meat during processing isnot yet known.Increase the Risk of DiabetesThe Harvard School of Public Health’s study of over 40,000 male health pro-fessionals found that processed meat appears to increase the risk of dia-betes. Harvard’s parallel Nurses’ Health Study, involving almost 70,000women, found that diabetes was linked strongly to consumption of bacon,and less strongly to hot dogs, other processed meats, and red meat.131PoultryFortunately, considering how much of it we are eating these days, poultrydoes not appear to contribute directly to chronic disease. Indeed, poultryis usually lower in fat and saturated fat than red meat, so it is much health-ier to eat in terms of heart disease. On the other hand, much of the chickenAmericans eat has been deep-fried by restaurants in partially hydroge-nated oil, the major source of heart-damaging trans fat, and heavily salted.That’s plain old junk food.Dairy ProductsHealthy, to a Point…Dairy products are excellent sources of calcium, and fluid milk is an excel-lent source of vitamin D. Those nutrients, along with potassium, are neededto build and maintain bones at all ages. A number of studies have foundthat people who consume more dairy products have stronger, denser bones,and thus a lower risk of developing osteoporosis (“brittle bone” disease) orof fracturing a bone.132 The protective effect of dairy products is strongestin younger women and less significant in women over 50. (There is lim- Replacing Elsie Healthfully Dairy products are Americans’ biggest sources of calcium, vitamin D, and potas- sium. But people who choose to eat little or no dairy foods can get calcium from green leafy vegetables, tortillas processed with lime, fortified foods, and supple- ments. They can get vitamin D from fortified foods (soymilk, breakfast cereals), supplements, or exposure to sunlight. Potassium is widely distributed in fruits and vegetables. That said, dairy foods may contain unique compounds that people who eschew those foods would miss out on.133
  • 44 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietited information on the benefits to men’s bone health of eating more dairyproducts.134) Dairy products also appear to help the body regulate blood pressure,thereby reducing the incidence of hypertension.135 Adding three servingsper day of low-fat dairy products to a healthy diet (low in saturated fat andtotal fat and high in fruits and vegetables) reduces blood pressure. Con-sistent with that, dairy products have been associated with a reduced riskof stroke and metabolic syndrome (a group of symptoms including obesityand insulin resistance that increases the risk for heart disease and type 2diabetes).…But Linked to Heart Disease and Various CancersWhole milk and many cheeses are major sources of saturated fat and cho-lesterol, which cause heart disease. Milk and cheese account for 21 percentof the saturated fat and 11 percent of the cholesterol in the American diet.136Cheese is now the single greatest source of saturated fat. Considering thatwhole milk has been a major (though declining) source of saturated fat inthe American diet, it is no surprise that studies have correlated higher con-sumption with heart attacks. In the Nurses’ Health Study, women whodrank two or more glasses of whole milk a day had a two-thirds greaterrisk of fatal and nonfatal heart attacks than women who drank less thanone glass a week.137 People could (and should) switch to fat-free dairy products. However,from a public health perspective, that doesn’t lower the overall risk of heartdisease, because the milkfat ends up in cheaper butter or in cream, pre-mium ice cream, and other high-fat foods. Suggestions for ways to lowerthe fat or saturated fat content of cow’s milk are discussed in “Reduce theFat Content of Milk,” p. 154. Dairy products also have been associated with increased or decreasedrisks of certain cancers.138 Eight of 11 studies that monitored large groups
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 45of men over a number of years linked dairy foods to an increased risk ofprostate cancer. Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health statedthat the association between dairy products and prostate cancer is one ofthe more consistent dietary predictors for prostate cancer. According to oneestimate, eating three servings per day of dairy products is associated witha 9 percent greater risk of prostate cancer—or 20,000 more cases per year.139(Note, however, that most men actually consume about half that manyservings.140) Just what it is in dairy products that might promote prostate cancer isnot known. The fat does not appear to be the problem, because several stud-ies linked skim and low-fat milk to prostate cancer.141 Several studies havesuggested that calcium is the culprit, although others dispute this.142 While dairy foods might promote prostate cancer, they also mightreduce the risk of other cancers. Some studies have found a modestly lowerrisk of colo­rectal cancer in people who consumed more milk.143 (Cheese andyogurt did not appear to protect against cancer.) And dairy products mayreduce the risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women, but the evidenceis inconsistent.144 But while we await more research, we need to eat. Consid-ering dairy products’ pluses and minuses, it makes sense to consume twoor three servings of them a day, but not go overboard with five or six.EggsKeep the Whites, Toss the Yolks…The main health concern with eggs is their effect on heart disease. Theproblem is not whole eggs, but the yolks. Egg yolks supply close to 30 per-cent of the 270 milligrams of cholesterol in the average adult’s daily diet.145While 270 milligrams is within the “less than 300 mg per day” guideline,the 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee states that “cholesterolintake should be kept as low as possible, within a nutritionally adequatediet.”146 Dietary cholesterol increases LDL cholesterol in blood, which, inturn, increases the risk of heart disease.147 Egg whites, in contrast, are richin protein and free of cholesterol.…To Reduce the Risk of Heart DiseaseThe high cholesterol content of egg yolks implies that egg-rich diets wouldincrease the risk of heart disease—and studies of populations indicate thateggs do exactly that. For example, the Oxford Vegetarian Study found thateating eggs more frequently was associated with a substantial increase inthe risk of death from heart disease.148 Dutch researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 17 well-controlled studies on the effect of dietary cholesterol
  • 46 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietfrom eggs on the ratio of total blood cholesterol to HDL (good) choles-terol.149 Many experts consider that ratio to be one of the best indicatorsof heart-disease risk, with higher ratios indicating greater risks. In all butone of the studies examined, the researchers found that increased eggconsumption was associated with higher ratios. Finally, men and womenwith diabetes have an increased risk of heart disease as their egg con-sumption increases.150 The bottom line is that we should eat fewer eggyolks.FishDecreases Risk of Heart Disease and CancerFish is generally quite healthful, notwithstanding several concerns dis-cussed below. Eating fish reduces the risk of heart disease. A meta-analy-sis of studies involving a total of more than 200,000 people found that thosewho ate fish at least once a week had a 15 percent lower risk of dying fromcoronary heart disease than those who ate fish less than once a month. Peo-ple who ate fish five or more times per week had almost a 40 percent lowerrisk.151 Of course, frying fish in partially hydrogenated oil—as restaurantsoften do—turns a dietary plus into a minus. The health benefits of fish probably come from a favorable mix of fattyacids, including low levels of saturated fat and high levels (in some species) of two omega-3 fatty acids: eicosap- entaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahex- Not Enough Fish aenoic acid (DHA). Those omega-3s While health experts are encourag- are thought to prevent heart attacks ing people to eat more fish, over- and strokes.152 The World Health fishing is driving some species to Organization, American Heart Asso- the brink of extinction. Populations ciation, and 2005 Dietary Guidelines for of Pacific cod, Atlantic sturgeon, Americans all recommend eating at shark, monkfish, numerous variet- least two servings of fish per week.153 ies of rockfish, and others are all Eating fish may also protect in trouble. Even aquaculture is a against cancer. The large EPIC study problem, because some farmed fish, in Europe found that people who ate such as salmon, are fed meal made more than 2.8 ounces of fish per day from small ocean-dwelling fish that would otherwise provide food for had a one-third lower risk of colorec- diverse wild species. Before head- tal cancer than those eating little or ing for the seafood counter, visit the no fish (under 0.3 ounces).154 Further- Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood more, several studies indicate that Watch ( fish may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.155
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 47Some Seafood Contains DangerousContaminantsNot everything about fish is salubri-ous. Contamination of certain speciesof fish by mercury, polychlorinatedbiphenyls (PCBs), and dioxinsdetracts from fish’s healthfulness,at least for pregnant and nursingwomen, infants, and young children.Those pollutants—in fish and otheranimal products—are discussedlater in this chapter (see “What inAnimal Foods Harms Us,” p. 52). Inaddition, natural toxins—ciguatoxinand scombrotoxin—in finfish andpotentially deadly Vibrio bacteria inGulf of Mexico shellfish cause foodpoisoning. What Actually Nourishes UsA variety of well-known substances in foods contribute to their healthful-ness: fiber, antioxidants, folate, and potassium, to name a few. In addition,plants contain thousands of other phytochemicals that may have healthbenefits. Some of the substances, such as potassium, that are found in plantsalso occur in animal foods; others, such as fiber and vitamin C, occur onlyin, or are more abundant in, plants.Dietary FiberAll minimally processed plant-based foods contain fiber. Highly processedplant-based foods, such as white flour, sugar, and vegetable oil provide lit-tle or no fiber. Animal products—meat, dairy, eggs, and seafood—provideno fiber at all. Fiber actually encompasses a multitude of different substances. Theseare typically divided into two broad groups: Soluble (or viscous) fiber, commonly found in fruits, oats, barley, and dried beans, dissolves in water and can slow the rate at which food leaves the stomach, which may help with weight control as well as reduce blood glucose levels.156 Soluble fiber also interferes with the absorption of dietary cholesterol and reduces LDL cholesterol in blood.157
  • 48 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Insoluble fiber, which occurs in What Fiber Does Not Do whole grains, nuts, and some fruits and vegetables, does not dissolve Fiber is not a panacea. Researchers in water. Cellulose, some hemicel- at the National Cancer Institute and luloses, and lignins are the most elsewhere long thought that dietary common insoluble fibers. Insolu- fiber helped prevent colon cancer.159 However, several important epide- ble fiber increases stool bulk, alle- miology studies and three interven- viates constipation, and reduces tion trials did not find a benefit.160 the risk of diverticular disease.158 Fiber also does not appear to pre- Fiber—especially soluble fiber vent pre- or postmenopausal breastand fiber from grain products—has cancer.161been consistently linked to a lowerrisk of heart disease.162 A long-term Harvard study of male health profes-sionals found that men who ate an average of 29 grams of total fiber per dayhad half the risk of fatal heart disease as those who ate half as much fiber.163A subsequent study conducted by Tulane University scientists found thatmen and women who consumed about 6 grams of soluble fiber per day hada 24 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease and a 12 percent lowermortality from all causes compared to those who consumed about 1 gramper day.164 Cereal fiber was more closely associated with the reduced risk thanwas fiber from fruits and vegetables. In women, eating 5 grams per day morecereal fiber—equivalent to two or three slices of whole wheat bread—wasassociated with a 37 percent lower risk of heart attack and stroke.165 A meta-analysis found that each 10-gram increase in dietary fiberwas associated with a 14 percent lower risk of all coronary events and a27 percent lower risk of death from heart disease. Fiber from cereal andfruit appeared to provide the most benefit, while fiber from vegetables hadlittle effect.166 The results were similar for men and women. At a time when millions of people are seeking cures for obesity, it isimportant to note that people who eat the most fiber tend to weigh less.167Dietary fiber helps control weight in several ways: Fiber-rich foods have to be chewed more, which slows eating speed. Fiber-rich foods take up a relatively large volume in the stomach, mak- ing people feel full sooner.168 Soluble fiber slows stomach emptying, which keeps people feeling full for a longer time.169The World Health Organization and others have identified diets high indietary fiber—that is, rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans—asan important means of preventing obesity.170
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 49 One final virtue of fiber—and a most valuable one—is that it acts asa laxative, leading to softer, bulkier stools. Fiber from wheat bran has thegreatest effect, followed closely by fiber from fruits and vegetables.171 The Institute of Medicine, a unit of the National Academy of Sciences,recommends that middle-aged (19–50 years old) men consume 38 grams offiber per day and women 25 grams per day.172 Currently, the average manand woman consume only half that much. In contrast, American and Britishvegetarians consume much more: Lacto-ovo vegetarians average 23 gramsper day, while vegans average 35 grams per day.173FolateFolate is a B vitamin found in green vegetables, orange juice, fortifiedgrains, and dried beans. Among other things, this important vitamin helpsthe body make new proteins, DNA, and red and white blood cells. Con-suming too little folate during early pregnancy increases the risk of neuraltube defect, a serious birth defect in which the neural tube fails to encasethe spinal cord. Folate also may reduce the risk of colon cancer, but moreresearch is needed.174 Since 1998, the FDA has required that white flour for bread and pasta,white rice, and breakfast cereals made with refined flours be fortified withfolic acid. Previously, adults consumed only about two-thirds of the recom-mended amount of folate.175 Fortification has almost doubled Americans’folate intake.176 Happily, the incidence of spina bifida (one type of neuraltube defect) has declined by 20 percent.177 Because plant-based foods are rich in folate, vegetarians tend to consumemore of the vitamin than non-vegetarians.178 In 1994–96 (before white flourand white rice were fortified), the average American consumed 262 micro-grams of folate per day.179 The average vegetarian likely consumed at leasthalf again more.180 Post-fortification comparisons have not been conducted.Despite a higher level of folate, white flour is poorer in many other nutrientsand dietary fiber than whole wheat flour. People would be better off eatingfoods made with whole-grain flour, plus a multivitamin supplement.PotassiumThe mineral potassium is abundant in fruits, vegetables, and beans, aswell as in milk and seafood. The median potassium intake of U.S. adultsis about 3 grams per day for men and just over 2 grams for women. That iswell below the “adequate” level of 4.7 grams per day, generally because ofour limited consumption of fruits and vegetables. Some of the richest foodsources of potassium are spinach, cantaloupe, almonds, Brussels sprouts,
  • 50 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietand bananas,181 but the biggest sources in the American diet are milk, pota-toes, coffee, and beef.182 Potassium plays an important role in regulating blood pressure.183 Ahigher intake of potassium is associated with a lower blood pressure, andincreasing potassium can reduce blood pressure in people with or withouthypertension. Higher potassium intakes, judging from several studies,lower the risk of stroke. Consuming more potassium has been associated with greater bonedensity and less age-related decline in bone density.184 In addition, a higherpotassium intake may well reduce the risk of kidney stones.185Unsaturated OilsMost fats and oils in plants, including soy, corn, canola, safflower, olive, andsunflower oils, contain beneficial mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids.Those unsaturated fats lower the bad cholesterol in our blood.186 (In con-trast, of course, animal fats are relatively high in saturated fat and low inunsaturated fatty acids and raise the bad cholesterol.) Based on a study ofmore than 80,000 women, Harvard researchers estimated that substituting unsaturated fat for about one-third of the saturated fat in a typi- cal diet would reduce the risk of heart dis- ease by a hefty 42 per- cent.187 Indeed, Amer- icans are consuming three times as much salad and cooking oils as they were 40 yearsCanola plants have beautiful flowers, as well as seeds that are rich ago, a dietary changein healthy monounsaturated oil. that almost certainlyhas prevented thousands of fatal heart attacks every year (see “The Cardio-vascular Benefit of Eating Less Meat and Dairy,” p. 20).188Omega-3 Fatty AcidsOmega-3 fatty acids are a family of polyunsaturated fatty acids that occurin fatty fish, some vegetable oils, soy products, walnuts, and certain otherfoods. As noted above, the omega-3s probably contribute to the associationbetween eating fish and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Plants con-tain not the EPA or DHA omega-3s that occur in fish, but another omega‑3,
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 51alpha-linolenic acid. Unfortunately, the body converts only a small fractionof that to EPA.189 (The body can then convert a small fraction of the EPAto DHA.) It is unclear whether the alpha-linolenic acid reduces the risk ofheart disease. The Institute of Medicine recommends that men consume 1.6 grams ofalpha-linolenic acid daily and that women consume 1.1 grams. Anyone whodoesn’t eat much fish should consume adequate alpha-linolenic acid fromflaxseed, flaxseed oil, canola oil, tofu, soybeans, soybean oil, and walnutsand should consider taking a fish-oil or DHA supplement.190AntioxidantsAntioxidants include such nutrients as vitamin C, beta-carotene, vita-min E, and selenium. Fruits and vegetables are especially rich sources ofmany antioxidants. Researchers havelong hypothesized that antioxidantshelp protect against harmful oxidizingagents, which can damage body pro-teins, DNA, and fats. While research-ers have speculated that antioxidantscontribute to the ability of fruits andvegetables to reduce the risk of chronicdisease, intervention studies with vita-min C, vitamin E, and beta-carotenehave not found any benefits.191 In fact, Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that may provide health benefits.smokers who took beta-carotene sup-plements actually had a greater risk of lung cancer.192 Intervention studies with selenium have been more promising. Severalstudies found that the mineral lowers the risk of prostate cancer and possi-bly other cancers, especially in people with low blood levels of selenium.193 Antioxidants probably are best acquired from whole foods rather thanfrom dietary supplements.194 It may turn out that it is not antioxidants butother constituents of plants that are the truly beneficial substances.PhytochemicalsPhytochemicals can be loosely defined as any chemicals that are naturallypresent in plants. Scores of different phytochemicals have been identifiedin fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts. General categories ofphytochemicals include carotenoids, flavonoids, isoflavones, lignans (not tobe confused with lignins, which are plant fibers), and phytosterols. Manyof them have no effect at all on health, but initial studies suggest that some
  • 52 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietreduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, cataracts, and other dis-eases.195 While researchers work out the details, consumers should just eatplenty of a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts and notbother taking supplements that are costly and contain just a few cheap andconvenient phytochemicals. Much exciting new research is exploring theexact role of phytochemicals in disease prevention. What in Animal Foods Harms UsAlthough some animal products are rich sources of protein, calcium, iron,zinc, and other essential nutrients, many also are rich sources of potentiallyharmful components, including saturated fat and cholesterol (see “The FattyFlaws of Meat and Dairy Foods,” p. 40). In addition, chemical by-productsof cooking and environmental toxins—such as heterocyclic amines (HCAs),polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), PCBs, and pesticides—oftenoccur in fatty animal products and may be harmful.Heterocyclic Amines and Polycyclic Aromatic HydrocarbonsHCAs form when meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are cooked at high temper-atures, especially by grilling or frying. HCAs are potent mutagens (agentsthat cause genetic mutations) that cause cancer in animals.196 Another group of chemicals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, formwhen fat from meat, poultry, and fish drips onto hot coals or a flame. PAHsare created and then rise with the smoke, contaminating the food.197 Thenutrition-oriented World Cancer Research Foundation identified grilledand barbecued meats and fish as possible causes of stomach and colon can-cer.198 The National Toxicology Program of the U.S. Department of Healthand Human Services says that PAHs and four HCAs are “reasonably antici-pated to be human carcinogens.”199 As with other carcinogens, the more ofthose substances that are consumed, the greater the risk, but the risk fromusing the backyard grill a few times over the summer is trivial.Environmental ContaminantsEnvironmental contaminants, including pesticides (see “Risks from Pesti-cides,” next page), industrial chemicals, and various pollutants, often accu-mulate in animal fat. That is why meat, full-fat dairy products, and fatty fishtend to be the major sources of those contaminants. Fat-soluble contami-nants persist for many years in human (or other animals’) fatty tissue andoccur in breast milk. Some of the contaminants cause cancer in experimen-tal animals and appear to cause behavioral abnormalities in humans.
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 53 Risks from PesticidesPesticides are widelyused to control insects,weeds, and fungi oncropland and crops. Ofthe 511 million poundsof pesticides usedin 2001, 181 millionpounds were used oncrops for livestock.200The vast majority—167million pounds—wasused for feed grains,with the remainderfor hay and pasture.It is difficult to deter-mine the health effectsof pesticides on con-sumers, because thelevels of pesticideresidues in food andwater are minusculeand the effects maybe rare or subtle. Noone expects there tobe a trail of sick peo-ple leading from thedinner table to the hospital. Rather, the concern is that long-term exposure to lowlevels of numerous pesticides may cause diseases ranging from autism to canceror impair the immune system.201Animal Studies: Raising ConcernsMany pesticides, including alachlor, acetochlor, and atrazine—herbicides widelyapplied to animal feed crops—have caused tumors in laboratory animals, includ-ing stomach tumors in male rats and stomach, lung, and mammary tumors infemale rats.202 When a chemical causes tumors in animals, it is presumed topose a cancer threat to humans. Other pesticides, such as carbaryl and methyl-phenoxyacetic acid, when tested at high doses suppressed the immune systems oflab animals and may cause autoimmune disorders; they also damaged the spleens,livers, kidneys, and nervous systems of the animals.203 While those results are
  • 54 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet intriguing, if not downright scary, epidemiology studies can help clarify whether the chemicals actually harm humans. Farmers: The Canary in the Coal Mine Farmers, not by choice, serve as important indicators of health risks from pesti- cides. And some of the studies on farmers who regularly apply pesticides suggest significant risks. While farmers have lower overall rates of cancer than the general population, due to factors such as less smoking, they have higher rates of several cancers (see figure).204 Increased risk of cancer among farmers compared to the general population 120% 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% Leukemia Prostate Stomach Multiple Melanoma Hodgkin’s Lip myeloma lymphoma Note: Results are based on surveys of farmers in the United States and abroad.205 Increases are statistically significant. Many factors contribute to the higher cancer rates among farmers. For instance, the higher rate of melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer, may be from working long hours in direct sunlight. Pesticide exposure also appears to be a significant factor.  California researchers Paul K. Mills and Richard Yang concluded that the higher risk of prostate cancer in Hispanic farmworkers was related to their exposure to certain herbicides.206  The National Cancer Institute’s Agricultural Health Study, which involves nearly 90,000 participants in Iowa and North Carolina, associated an increased risk of prostate cancer with six different pesticides.207  Nebraska farmers who applied 2,4–dichlorophenoxy acetic acid more than 20 days a year were three times as likely to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma as farmers not exposed to the pesticide.208 That herbicide is often applied to almost every major grain and roughage crop fed to livestock.209
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 55 That said, some studies did not find clear links between two widely used herbi- cides—atrazine and glyphosate—and cancer.210 Organophosphate pesticides are highly neurotoxic, causing weakness and even paralysis.211 They make up nearly half of all insecticides (some also serve as her- bicides and fungicides) used in the United States, with some 5 million pounds annually applied to corn, hay, soybean, wheat, pasture, and other crops.212 Heavy exposure of farmworkers (and others) to organophosphates has been linked to memory loss, confusion, limb paralysis, and behavioral abnormalities, as well as paralysis of the lungs (which causes death by suffocation).213 One study linked the now-banned soil fumigant 1,2–dibromo-3–chloropropane to reduced or absent sperm production in farmworkers.214 Health Effects in Consumers: The Big Question Mark Consumers are exposed to far lower levels of pesticides than farmers and pesticide applicators, so the risks to them are far smaller. However, children are particularly vulnerable, because they metabolize certain pesticides differently from adults and they consume higher concentrations of pesticides relative to their weight.215 Subtle impairment of IQ or behavior would be of great import, but undetectable. While most consumers are especially concerned about pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables, which are directly sprayed, fat-soluble pesticides in animal prod- ucts actually pose the bigger risk. That’s because livestock are fed large amounts of pesticide-tainted feed grains and accumulate pesticide residues in their fat. Agricultural pesticides may well be causing the same problems in consumers as they cause in lab animals and farmworkers, albeit at a much lower frequency and severity. Much of the concern focuses on weakening the immune system, which might lead to higher rates of infectious diseases and cancer. That is espe- cially true for people, such as Inuit children, whose diets contain high levels of pesticides and toxic chemicals.216 However, actually proving that the average consumer is harmed may be impossible. Consumers could reduce their exposure to pesticides by purchasing foods produced on organic farms or farms that use integrated pest management and by eating less meat, poultry, dairy, and egg products overall. Polychlorinated biphenyls are highly toxic industrial chemicals thatare “reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens.”217 In addition, PCBsendanger fetuses and young children because they can affect the develop-ing brain. The contaminant concentrates in animal fat and enters our dietsand bodies through fish, cheese, eggs, and other foods. A 2003 report bythe nonprofit Environmental Working Group found that samples of farmedsalmon from the East and West Coasts of the United States contained three
  • 56 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diettimes as much PCBs as typical commercial seafood and about four timesmore PCBs than beef.218 PCBs in farmed salmon are a problem for children and pregnant women,but less so for others. For the average adult the cardiovascular benefit fromomega-3 fatty acids in salmon far outweighs the cancer risk from PCBs. TheCenter for Science in the Public Interest estimates that if 100,000 people ateone serving of farmed salmon per week, one person would develop cancer,but 1,500 people would be spared death from cardiac arrest.219 Another fat-soluble industrial contaminant that lurks in food—andhuman blood and breast milk—is polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).According to Arnold Schechter and his colleagues at the University of TexasHealth Science Center in Dallas, “food is a major route of intake for PBDEs,”with fish, cheese, butter, and poultry being the most contaminated.220 Thesechemicals, which are used as flame retardants in everything from furniturefoam to plastics in personal computers, are chemically and toxicologicallysimilar to PCBs. The Environmental Protection Agency has reported thatPBDEs cause liver and thyroid toxicity, as well as neurodevelopmentalproblems.221 The agency banned the most toxic types of PBDEs in 2005, butresidues of these chemicals will persist in the environment—and food sup-ply—for many years to come.MercuryMercury is a toxic metal spewed into the air by coal-burning power plantsand carried around the globe. It accumulates in the tissues of fish, especiallylarge predatory fish. Like PCBs, mercury is especially toxic to fetuses andyoung children and can cause irreversible neurological damage. That’s whythe Environmental Protection Agency and the FDA recommend that womenwho are or may become pregnant, nursing women, and young children com-pletely avoid shark, swordfish, and king mackerel. Other fish and shellfishshould be limited to 12 ounces (6 ounces for albacore tuna) per week.222 What It All MeansOver the past half-century, hundreds of studies—animal, clinical, epide-miological, and intervention—have examined the effect of diet on healthfrom every conceivable angle. They provide strong, consistent evidencethat diets rich in animal foods (except fish)—especially fatty meat and dairyproducts—and poor in healthy plant-based foods contribute to hyperten-sion, stroke, heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. That rich body ofresearch has led the world’s leading health experts to emphasize the ben-efits of plant-based diets. The World Health Organization, the U.S. govern-
  • Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health • 57ment’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the American Academy of Pedi-atrics, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, andmany other authoritative health agencies all recommend that people eatmore fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and modest amounts of non-friedseafood and poultry, low-fat dairy products, and lean meat.223 Most healthexperts also strongly recommend that people cut back on salt, refined sug-ars, and partially hydrogenated oils. Eating more of the healthy foods pro-vides essential nutrients and squeezes less-healthy foods off the plate. In“Changing Your Own Diet” (p. 143), we provide more specific advice onwhat precisely a healthy diet should include, along with a scorecard forevaluating your diet.Meatless burgers are being made of everything from chickpeas (above) to mushrooms and oats tosoybeans.
  • Argument #2.Less Foodborne IllnessA potent case of food poisoning, with its nausea, vomiting, and I-think-I’m-going-to-die misery, is unforgettable. Some of the most common causes of food poisoning are the bacteria andviruses carried by farm animalsand that are abundant in theirmanure. Many common germs live  More than 1,000 Americans die each year from foodborne illnesses linkedharmlessly in animals but can make to meat, poultry, dairy, and eggpeople deathly ill. Those patho- products.gens can jump from animals to peo-  The annual medical and relatedple through tainted food, air, soil, costs of foodborne illnesses in thewater, or direct contact between United States are at least $7 bil-people and livestock. lion. Although diet-related chronic  Fruits and vegetables are a majordiseases, such as heart disease and cause of food poisoning thanks, invarious kinds of cancer, kill many part, to contamination from live-more people than food poisoning, stock manure.the sudden onset of food poisoning  Raising large numbers of poultry andand the fact that it can be traced pigs increases the risk of deadly fluto particular foods add urgency to epidemics.efforts to control it. 59
  • 60 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet The Scope and Costs of Foodborne IllnessFoodborne illnesses are caused by such well-known bacteria as Campylo-bacter jejuni, the deadly O157:H7 strain of Escherichia coli (E. coli), and severaltypes of Salmonella, as well as by such little-known germs as Norwalk-likeviruses. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) esti-mates that pathogens in food cause about 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hos-pitalizations, and 5,200 deaths each year (see table 1).1 Norwalk-like viruses,which cause gastrointestinal distress, are the most common source of ill-nesses whose causes have been identified. Typically, they are transferredto food by poor sanitary practices during preparation. Although bacteriacause fewer illnesses than viruses, they are more likely to be fatal. In fact,listeriosis, caused by Listeria monocytogenes, is fatal in 20 percent of the peo-ple it infects. Germs, such as E. coli and Salmonella, associated with food ani-mals accounted for at least 1,100 of the deaths (and probably many more inthe “unknown” category). Table 1. Major causes and costs of foodborne illnesses and deaths in the United States (annual estimates)2 Cost (medical, lost productivity, Pathogen Illnesses Deaths premature death) Campylobacter 2,000,000 100 $1.2 billion Salmonella 1,300,000 550 $2.4 billion Clostridium perfringens 249,000 7 Not available Bacteria Staphylococcus 185,000 2 $1.2 billion E. coli* 94,000 80 $1.0 billion Listeria 2,500 500 $2.3 billion Cryptosporidium parvum 300,000 7 Not available Parasites Giardia† 200,000 1 $0.5 billion Toxoplasma gondii 113,000 380 Not available Viruses Norwalk-like viruses 9,200,000 120 Not available Unknown 62,000,000 3,200 Not available Total ‡ 76,300,000 5,207 $6.9 billion * The estimate covers only O157:H7 and other shiga toxin-producing strains of E. coli. Other strains of E. coli cause additional illnesses. † Although cattle carry Giardia, it is unclear whether they carry strains that can infect humans. The deaths may be due to Giardia from wildlife or other sources. ‡ Figures do not sum to totals because data are limited to those pathogens causing in excess of 100,000 illnesses or 80 deaths. See source for complete listings. Moreover, $6.9 billion probably is an underestimate because the costs of many major foodborne illnesses never have been calculated; this total covers only about 9 percent of the estimated 76 million foodborne illnesses suffered each year.
  • Argument #2. Less Foodborne Illness • 61 The causes of food poisonings are rarely tracked down, because it is notworth the effort and cost when only single individuals are affected. Instead,public health experts focus on outbreaks affecting dozens or hundreds ofpeople. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has compiled adatabase of 3,810 outbreaks caused by germs (plus another 700 caused bytoxins in fish) and for which the contaminated food was identified.3 Thoughthe database covers only a small percentage of foodborne illnesses, it indi-cates which foods pose the greatest risks. Red meat and poultry—including luncheon meats—caused more than1,200 of the outbreaks in CSPI’s database (see table 2). Americans eat far lessseafood than meat and poultry, yet seafood was linked to more than 300 ofthe outbreaks. Fruits and vegetables, normally thought of as being perfectlysafe, caused over 500 of the identified outbreaks. However, about one-thirdof those outbreaks actually were caused by germs normally associated withanimal manure, as were two-thirds in the “other” category. Dairy was thesafest major category in the database, causing about 150 of the identifiedoutbreaks, but the largest outbreaks on record were caused by dairy foods.4In 1985, milk contaminated with Salmonella sickened over 16,000 people inthe Chicago area and killed 2. In 1994, 224,000 people around the countrywere sickened by ice cream made from ingredients contaminated with Sal-monella that was in dirty tanker trucks. All told, 58 percent of the outbreakswere associated with animal products or germs normally associated withlivestock. Considering how much of our food is contaminated, it is remarkablethat foodborne illnesses do not strike more people. In 2002, Consumer Reports Table 2. Sources of foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States linked to microbial hazards, 1990–20035 Outbreaks People sickened Food Number Percent Number Percent Meat, poultry, luncheon meats 1,221 31 38,284 28 Seafood* 306 8 6,609 5 Vegetables and fruits 529 14 28,108 20 Eggs 329 9 10,849 8 Dairy 151 4 5,145 4 Other (sandwiches, pasta, salads, ethnic foods, etc.) 1,274 33 49,667 36 Total † 3,810 100 138,662 100 * Includes only microbial-linked outbreaks, not those due to scombroid or ciguatera toxins in fish. † Percentages do not total 100 because of rounding.
  • 62 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietmagazine found that 1 percent of ground beef samples bought at grocerystores had significant levels of fecal contamination and 4 percent were onthe brink of spoilage.6 The magazine’s tests of almost 500 fresh chickensfrom 25 cities found that 42 percent were contaminated with Campylobacterand 12 percent with Salmonella.7 Overall, 49 percent of the chickens were contaminated with one or both bacteria. Adding to the risk, 90 percent of the Campylobacter and one-third of the Salmonella were resistant to at least one antibiotic. The U.S. Depart- ment of Agriculture (USDA) found an even bigger prob- lem: 90 percent of birds tested positive for Campylobacter.8 Government data also show that about 2.3 million eggs areSalmonella is the main culprit in egg-related food contaminated with Salmonellapoisonings and is a common contaminant in chicken and each year.9 Although thoroughmeat. Shown here (pink) growing on cultured cells. cooking kills the Campylobacterand Salmonella in infected meat, poultry, and eggs, the contaminated rawfoods may infect consumers who touch them or eat them undercooked. Foodborne illnesses typically occur shortly after tainted foods are eatenand, while causing real misery, are short-lived. But they sometimes havelong-term consequences. Guillain-Barré Syndrome, an autoimmune disor-der caused by Campylobacter infection, is one such lingering result. Reiter’sSyndrome is a type of arthritis caused by Salmonella. Even more disturb-ing than those relatively rare events is what a study at the Statens SerumInstitute in Denmark found. These scientists tracked 49,000 people who hadsuffered gastrointestinal infections and compared them to individuals whohad not. The findings? People who had had food poisoning were more thanthree times as likely to die in the following year.10 In other words, individu-als who contract foodborne illnesses are either already in poor health—orfoodborne illnesses may be much more harmful than anyone thought. Our Food System Increases Certain Food-Safety RisksFood poisoning has afflicted humans since time immemorial and was con-sidered an inevitable part of life. Health officials and industry have improvedthe safety of the food supply through the use of refrigeration, pasteuriza-
  • Argument #2. Less Foodborne Illness • 63 Death by Hamburger On July 31, 2001, healthy two-year-old Kevin Kowal- cyk woke up with diarrhea and a slight fever. Three days later, his kidneys began to fail and his symptoms worsened. Over the following week, he was kept alive by a ventilator and a dialysis machine. Twelve days after he became ill—and to the shock of his parents and even his doctors—Kevin died. The cause? The deadly O157:H7 strain of the bacterium Escherichia coli,11 almost certainly from a contaminated ham- burger.tion, and other technologies. But in some ways we are going backward. Atleast four aspects of large-scale industrial agriculture and food processinghave increased the risk of major food-poisoning outbreaks: Germs can be dispersed nationally and internationally with incredible rapid- ity.12 On a typical day, 24,000 hogs are shipped from North Carolina to 27 states, as well as to Puerto Rico, Mexico, Canada, and South America. Severe crowding on industrial factory farms helps livestock-borne pathogens spread from animal to animal. Half a century ago, a single chicken carry- ing a pathogen such as influenza might infect 100 others on the same farm; now that same bird might infect 50,000 others sharing its football field-sized shed. And when some mutant strains of viruses and bacte- ria would have only infected highly vulnerable animals, a particularly infectious agent would have died out quickly in a small flock or herd composed of mostly healthy animals. Today’s huge factory farms, on the other hand, increase the chances of a germ’s finding weakened animals that can act as reservoirs. The widespread use of antibiotics to mitigate problems caused by crowding on fac- tory farms adds a new dimension to food-poisoning risks. The regular admin- istration of low doses of antibiotics promotes the growth of antibiotic- resistant bacteria (see “Factory Farming’s Antibiotic Crutch,” p. 68). Thus, mutant bacteria that infect humans may be tougher to treat. Industrial processing of meat allows pathogens from a small number of animals to contaminate large amounts of food. As Eric Schlosser reminds us in Fast Food Nation, butchers used to provide consumers with ground beef made from a single cut. Now that large meatpacking plants have taken over, “there are hundreds or even thousands of animals that have contributed to a single hamburger,” as one expert at the CDC noted.13 Consequently,
  • 64 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet a foodborne illness that once might have affected only one family now might affect scores of families. Industry, of course, doesn’t want to poison its customers and, underpressure from government, consumer groups, and the media, has beenslowly testing and instituting new measures to prevent contaminationon farms or to kill the germs at slaughterhouses. But there is a constanttension between wanting to raise and process as many animals as rapidlyand cheaply as possible and ensuring that the food is as safe as possible.Compromises are always made. Animal Pathogens Can Sicken Even VegetariansThe hazards created by livestock production increasingly jeopardize not onlythe safety of meat, but also of fruits and vegetables. About 30 percent of thefood-poisoning outbreaks traced to produce actually are caused by pathogensof animal origin.14 Fruits and vegetables can be contaminated by tainted irri-gation water, manure used as fertilizer, or cross-contamination from meatduring transport or in the kitchen. Foods as diverse as parsley, scallions,cantaloupes, lettuce, bean and alfalfa sprouts, orange juice, and beans havecaused outbreaks due to microbes characteristic of animal agriculture.15 While cooking kills most pathogens in meat, poultry, and some veg-etables, other vegetables and fruit are not cooked. Who wants to cook one’ssalad to be sure it’s safe? In lettuce plants, E. coli O157:H7 can be drawn up by the roots and migrate into the interior of the leaf, where the germs cannot be removed by wash- ing. In 1996, lettuce contaminated with that bacterium caused a large out- break of illnesses across Illinois, Connecticut, and New York. One victim was a three-year-old girl who needed surgery to remove a pool of blood from her brain and was left with damaged vision. Federal health officials discovered that cattle were penned next to the barn where the lettuce was processed and were the likely source of the contamination.16 Between 1995 and 2002, 15 outbreaks were traced to Salmonella-contami- nated sprouts. In one case, alfalfa sprouts harvested in Idaho from a field adjacent to a cattle feedlot caused outbreaks in Michigan and Virginia. The problem was so serious the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned in 2002 that sprouts were only safe to eat after cooking.17 In 1991, Salmonella—presumably from animal manure on cantaloupes— caused a major outbreak, leaving a trail of illnesses across 23 states and into Canada. In 2002, Salmonella contaminated over 500,000 pounds of canned kale and turnip greens.18
  • Argument #2. Less Foodborne Illness • 65 Washing produce helps, but as long as animal manure is anywherenear fields and packinghouses, pathogens may be a threat. Manure: How Many Pathogens Get SpreadManure is one means by which germs in livestock enter the food supplyand infect humans.19 Most of the germs cause gastrointestinal problems,but E. coli O157:H7 causes hideously painful and sometimes fatal kidneyproblems (hemolytic uremic syndrome). In a 1999–2000 USDA study of 73 cattle feedlots, 50 percent tested posi-tive for Salmonella.20 Eleven percent of samples contained E. coli O157:H7, andevery feedlot had at least one positive sample in the course of the study. The biggest risk to humans is probably from the fecal matter on animalhides and from intestines that contaminates meat and poultry at slaughter-houses. But pathogens in livestock manure also contaminate pools, lakes,and streams. Outbreaks of gastroenteritis (inflammation of the lining ofthe intestines or thestomach) traced tocontaminated recre-ational water doubledbetween 1997–98 and1999–2000.21 Crypto­spo­ridium parvum andE. coli O157:H7 accountfor nearly 90 percentof such outbreaks. Aremarkable 60 percentof gastroenteritis fromrecreational water use Spraying manure onto cropland also sprays bacteria.occurred in treatedwater, such as swimming pools. If manure is not adequately treated, E. colican leach into water—especially if a rainstorm occurs shortly after applica-tion to cropland—and even get into well water.22 Of the outbreaks caused bycontaminated drinking water in 1999–2000 where the cause was identified,the majority resulted from animal-borne pathogens.23 Farmers can compost manure to decrease the populations of bacteriaenough to allow it to be spread as fertilizer, but they must control the tem-perature and aeration, which can be difficult and costly given the massivequantities of manure generated by large animal feeding operations. Bac-teria can survive in the lagoons of liquefied livestock waste, which mimicthe moist, oxygen-poor climate of the intestines in which they thrive. Thus,
  • 66 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietwhen lagoon liquid is sprayed onto fields, bacteria are sprayed, too.24 Dry-ing mounds of manure before application—another popular technique—isbetter than lagoon storage for eliminating bacteria, but serious risks remain.The hardy E. coli O157:H7 can survive for 21 months in an unaerated manurepile and for 4 months in an aerated pile. Even harsh winters cannot eradi-cate the germ: It can survive 100 days in frozen manure.25 One researcher discovered the tenacity of pathogens while studying avariety of vegetables grown in soil that was fertilized with manure inocu-lated with Salmonella and E. coli. Both of those bacteria were found on theharvested produce, and they also survived in the soil even after repeatedcycles of freezing and thawing.26 Furthermore, although cattle typicallyremain positive for E. coli O157:H7 for only a month, keeping a herd in a feedlot or grazing them on a field where their manure has been used as fertilizer may lead animals to be continually infected.27 In recent years, poultry lit- ter—ground-up feces, feathers, bed- ding, and spilled feed—has been fed to cattle. That practice creates a cycle that may infect those cattle with mad cow disease, because chickens are sometimes fed processed cattle prod-An artist’s rendering of a prion, a small protein ucts—pulverized bone and meat.molecule that wreaks havoc in the brain, causingmad cow disease and the human equivalent, If that chicken feed is excreted orvariant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. spilled onto the floor by poultry, itmay become part of cattle feed. The initial route through which mad cowdisease was spread was the feeding of processed cattle products to cattle. Sofar, however, the cattle-chicken-cattle feeding cycle has not been proven tospread the disease. (For more on mad cow disease, see appendix A, p. 174.) Diseases Direct from Livestock to YouIn addition to hosting foodborne pathogens, farm animals carry numerousmicrobes that can infect people directly. An estimated 200 different diseasescan be transferred from animals to people, and that number is growing.28 Of156 emerging diseases around the world, such as pfiesteria, hantavirus, andWest Nile virus, 73 percent inhabit animals for part of their life cycles.29 Microbes from livestock can also reach people through the environment.Numerous pathogens—including antibiotic-resistant strains from livestock—are found in the air, though their impact on surrounding communities is
  • Argument #2. Less Foodborne Illness • 67unknown.30 The air inside one swine barn contained Staphylococcus, Pseu-domonas, Bacillus, Listeria, and other bacteria at worrisome levels.31 Streams,too, could infect swimmers, boaters, and fishers. More research is needed todetermine just how big a problem environmental contamination is.The Most Threatening Animal-Borne Disease: InfluenzaInfluenza is the single biggest animal-borne threat, and public health offi-cials around the globe are beginning to safeguard against possible pan-demics. University of Minnesota professor Michael Osterholm warns: “Pan-demics are not a question of [whether] they will happen.   The question we …really have before us is how big, how bad, and when will it start.”32 Chickens, ducks, and pigs serve as major reservoirs for flu viruses.Because pigs can become infected with both human and avian strains ofa given virus, the viruses may swap genes, creating a new harmful strainto which humans may be susceptible. That process may be facilitated bymixing pigs from different farms or regions—a common event at livestockauctions or during shipping. Innocuous influenza viruses in wild birdsmay infect poultry, where they could undergo mutations that enable themto infect and kill humans. The gravest risk arises when flu viruses gain theability to spread directly from personto person.33 Various gradually changingstrains of influenza virus are endemicand cause annual nationwide out-breaks in the United States. In anaverage year, 10 to 20 percent of thepopulation gets the flu, with 114,000requiring hospitalization and 36,000dying.34 Of course, those figures aredwarfed by the massive 1918–19 flu Avian influenza virus A H5N1 (gold) is growing inpandemic, which killed more people cultured cells (green).faster than any disease ever.35 While“only” 500,000 Americans died, some countries lost half their popula-tions.36 Globally, as many as 50 million people died. That strain of flulikely came from birds and then spread to humans. If a similar strain offlu struck today, some experts estimate that 1.8 million Americans woulddie.37 Poultry-related influenza outbreaks have been much in the headlinesin recent years. In 1997 in Hong Kong, a strain of avian influenza (“birdflu”) H5N1 leapt from poultry to humans, infecting 18 people.38 Six people
  • 68 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Factory Farming’s Antibiotic Crutch Food poisoning is bad enough when you’re infected with ordinary germs. But when those germs are resistant to customary antibiotics, ordinary illnesses may become life threatening. We’re courting disaster when we allow farmers to use penicillin, erythromycin, and other important antibiotics for economic—not medical— reasons. Antibiotics, the first true miracle drugs, have saved countless lives over the past half-century. But far greater quantities of antibiotics are used in farm animals than in humans.39 The drugs are sometimes used to treat sick animals, but mostly they are administered at low, non-therapeutic levels to whole flocks and herds to pro- mote growth and counteract the dirty, crowded conditions in which most animals are raised. Antibiotic Use Breeds Resistance Using low levels of antibiotics day in and day out on millions of animals greatly increases the chances that bacteria—including those that cause foodborne ill- nesses—will develop antibiotic resistance. The problem arises when a germ hap- pens to mutate in one of several ways that reduces the antibiotic’s effectiveness. The tougher new bacteria:  pump the antibiotic out of their cells,  degrade the antibiotic,  change the antibiotic’s chemical structure, or  modify target molecules to “fool” the antibiotic. The anti­biotic kills off all but the resistant germs, which then flourish. If people are infected by those bacteria via contaminated food, they can suffer illnesses that may only be cured by the newest, most powerful (and expensive) antibiotics. Farmers and others in direct contact with livestock can also be infected by the resistant bacteria.40 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has recognized that “Antimicro- bial resistance among foodborne bacteria, primarily Salmonella and Campylobacter, may cause prolonged duration of illness, and increased rates of bacteremia (bac- teria in the blood), hospitalization, and death.”41 Antibiotic-resistant Salmonella, a common foodborne pathogen, causes at least 29,000 extra illnesses, 342 extra hospitalizations, and 12 extra deaths per year.42 The ultimate danger is that bacteria will develop resistance to all the common antibiotics and cause a deadly epidemic. A 2001 U.S. Food and Drug Administration study of ground meat and poultry found that 20 percent of the samples contained Salmonella, and over half of those bac- teria were resistant to at least three important antibiotics.43 Even more alarming, some strains of Salmonella and other foodborne pathogens were resistant to a
  • Argument #2. Less Foodborne Illness • 69dozen different antibiotics. The livestock industry’s profligate use of antibioticsalmost certainly selects for those “superbugs.”44In 1995, the FDA—over the objections of the Centers for Disease Control and Pre-vention—allowed chicken farmers to treat whole flocks with fluoroquinolones, afamily of powerful new antibiotics, even if only a few birds were sick. Predict-ably, rates of resistance in Campylobacter quickly soared from virtually zero to20 percent.45 That spurred the FDA, in 2000, to reverse course and propose barringflock-wide use of fluoroquinolones.46 Two years later, the agency estimated thatfluoroquinolone-resistant infections were causing over 17,000 additional cases offood poisoning, leading to 95 hospitalizations.47 Only two companies marketed theantibiotics: Abbott Laboratories immediately stopped marketing its product, butit took five years to overcome Bayer Corporation’s opposition and to stop farmers’use of its similar drug.48Growing Opposition to a Dangerous PracticeLivestock producers and the animal-drug industry insist that giving animals lowdoses of antibiotics is safe.49 But public health experts counter that it is senselessto endanger the effectiveness of vital human medicines—especially when they arenot essential to farmers. The American Medical Association, American Public HealthAssociation, and other health groups have opposed unnecessary uses of antibioticson farms. The American Academy of Pediatrics found that “children are at an increasedrisk” from antibiotic-resistant infections rooted in non-therapeutic uses of antibiot- ics in food-pro- ducing animals. And a study by the Institute of Medicine con- cluded that the “FDA should ban the use of anti- microbials for growth promo- tion in animalsAntibiotics are widely used in crowded, dirty animal facilities to prevent or if those classestreat bacterial infections. of antimicro-bials are also used in humans.” The World Health Organization made a similarplea. More than 300 local and national organizations, including the medical, publichealth, and pediatrician organizations mentioned above, have supported legisla-tion to limit the use of antibiotics in livestock.50Industry maintains that antibiotics help healthy animals grow faster and at a lowercost. But a committee of the National Academy of Sciences emphasized that the
  • 70 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet “beneficial effects of subtherapeutic drug use are found to be greatest in poor sanitary conditions.”51 Just as public health experts finally figured out that clean- ing up the water and the air drastically reduced infectious diseases in people, so agribusiness should look to use different approaches to prevent illnesses in their animals. If they cleaned up their hog sheds, gave their chickens more room to roam around, stopped feeding cattle an unnatural grain-rich diet, and bred ani- mals not just to grow fast but to have strong immune systems, farmers could both raise healthier animals and protect the effectiveness of precious antibiotics. The European Union began phasing out the use of medically important antibiotics in healthy animals in 1999 and banned that use completely on January 1, 2006.52 Denmark, the world’s largest exporter of pork, moved even faster. In 1998 it insti- tuted a virtual ban (through a $2 tax on treated pigs) on using growth-promoting antibiotics in pigs after weaning.53 In 2004, farmers were not using any antibiotics to promote growth, though more antibiotics were being used to treat illnesses. The total poundage used is dramatically lower than before the ban, and the preva- lence of both resistant and nonresistant foodborne pathogens plummeted in hogs and their meat.54 Moreover, Danish economists estimate that the cost of producing pork will rise just 1 percent.55 Change is coming, if more slowly, in the United States.56 Tyson Foods, the nation’s largest chicken producer, reduced its use of antibiotics by 93 percent between 1997 and 2004, and three other major companies say they have stopped using antibiotics on healthy animals. The Iowa Pork Producers Association is now urging “all Iowa pork producers to voluntarily discontinue use of all growth-promoting antibiotics” in the feed of pigs that weigh more than about 50 pounds. And a rap- idly growing number of organic livestock producers do not administer any drugs at all (they treat sick animals, but then do not market them as organic). Probably reflecting such developments, between 1999 and 2004 the volume of antibiotics used in animals declined by 10 percent, despite a 5 percent increase in livestock production.57 Unfortunately, there is no similar progress in the cattle industry.died—a fatality rate of 33 percent. Hong Kong officials responded by order-ing the slaughter of 1.4 million birds. Luckily, the disease did not spreadeasily from person to person, so control measures were effective. Since 1997,however, four more outbreaks of avian influenza have occurred in HongKong, prompting the government to respond with such preventive measuresas poultry vaccinations and new restrictions on imported poultry. Between2003 and 2006, bird flu spread to other parts of Asia and countries in Europeand Africa. It has killed over 100 people and prompted the slaughter of morethan 150 million poultry, costing the industry billions of dollars.58 The CDC says that “The avian influenza … outbreak in Asia is notexpected to diminish significantly in the short term.”59 In 2004 in North
  • Argument #2. Less Foodborne Illness • 71America, a milder strain of avian influenza emerged in Canada and Texas.No human deaths were reported, although two poultry workers becameill.60 Some 17 million chickens, turkeys, and ducks were culled to prevent thevirus from spreading. In 2006, veterinary and health experts in North Amer-ica and elsewhere were bracing for a new round of infections. Tara O’Toole,director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for Biosecu-rity, speculated that a highly infectious bird flu virus could kill as many as 40 million Americans.61 While the most dire predictions are likely overblow n—pa r t ly because mutations are expected to weaken the virus if it “learns” to spread from person to person—the pos- sibility of epidemics is enormously enhanced by the widespreadIn huge poultry sheds, germs from one bird can easily infect raising of large num-thousands of other birds. bers of livestock. Weak Safeguards Endanger ConsumersAll of the problems mentioned above are exacerbated by the federal gov-ernment’s incomplete and fragmented food-safety system. For starters, theUnited States does not have a system that tracks animals and meat fromthe farm to the slaughterhouse to the table. That prevents health officialsfrom tracing the cause of a food-poisoning outbreak back to the farm. Also,the government cannot require food processors to recall products that aresuspected of causing outbreaks; instead, they must ask and negotiate withcompanies—while people are getting sick. The USDA cannot fine compa-nies for violating the law, and the FDA can only fine a company $1,000 andthreaten officials with a year in jail. Those agencies’ real power comes fromtheir authority to seize products on store shelves and generate bad public-ity. As for imported foods, the USDA has the power to inspect foreign pro-cessing plants, but the FDA does not. Most of the responsibility for ensuring a safe food supply rests with theUSDA and the FDA, with almost a dozen other agencies playing smallerroles. The USDA oversees the safety of meat, poultry, pasteurized eggs,and processed foods containing meat or poultry, while the FDA oversees
  • 72 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dieteverything else, includingproduce, eggs in their shells,seafood, and processed foodsthat contain little or no meat orpoultry. That division createssome bizarre situations. Forexample, the USDA regulatesdehydrated chicken soup, butthe FDA oversees dehydratedbeef soup. Peculiarly, though,the FDA regulates chickenbroth, but the USDA regulatesbeef broth. (The governmentis looking to correct thatparticular bit of bureaucratic USDA microbiologists obtain samples for microbial analysis from a washed carcass.craziness.) More importantly, federal funding priorities are misguided. CSPI’sfood safety director Caroline Smith DeWaal emphasizes that while FDA-regulated foods cause two-thirds of all outbreaks, the FDA receives only38 percent of food-safety funding. As a result, that agency performs toofew inspections of the facilities it oversees. The USDA inspects meat andpoultry plants daily; the FDA inspects other operations only about onceevery five years on average.62 What It All MeansAnimal products cause many foodborne infections in the United States,and livestock are the source of other infectious diseases, such as the flu,that are spread by vehicles other than food. Sicknesses and deaths aside,those illnesses generate enormous health-care and other costs. Some of theproduction systems that animal agriculture uses promote the spread ofdangerous pathogens from animals to meat to humans and from animalmanure to fruits and vegetables. Industry is well aware of the food-safetyproblem and has been attacking it with new technologies, ranging fromsteam-treating and acid-washing beef carcasses to vaccinating poultry toirradiating cuts of meat. Still, foodborne and farm animal–related illnesseslikely will never be eliminated totally. Meanwhile, the government’s food-safety system, which includes programs that are perpetually underfundedand riddled with holes, has proved inadequate in fulfilling its public healthmission. With a large percentage of foodborne illnesses caused by animalproducts, one personal solution is obvious: eat fewer animal products—andwash your fruits and vegetables.
  • Argument #3.Better Soil “Soybean production is killing us,” notes Larry Gates of the Minnesota Department of Natural Re- sources. Southeast Minnesota, which once boasted clean rivers and streams, is increasingly inhospi- table to healthy and diverse aquatic life—as well as to the people who flocked to those waters to fish and swim. Encouraged by Farm Bill incentives, Minnesota farmers have been converting their pas- tures and grasslands to soybean fields. That simple switch has had a profound impact, as endless rows of soybean plants have led to unprecedented lev- els of erosion. Load upon load of sediment has been washed into the river. As a result, brown trout populations, which had been rising for decades, are declining to the point where hundreds of thousands of young trout will have to be placed in the river if the population is to be maintained.1P roducing food animals, and the grains and soybeans that speed their growth, takes a tremendous toll on farmland—particularly its pre- cious topsoil. Growing crops for animal feed frequently erodes the 73
  • 74 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietsoil, as does overgrazing of grasses  Raising almost 100 million acres ofby livestock. Further, cattle’s constant feed crops for livestock productiontrampling of vulnerable rangeland depletes topsoil of nutrients andcan almost irreparably damage the causes erosion.environment. The immense quantities  About 22 billion pounds of fertilizer—of fertilizers—including old-fashioned about half of all fertilizer applied inmanure, urban processed sewage the United States—are applied tosludge, and conventional chemicals— lands used to grow feed grains forand pesticides used to grow feed American livestock annually. The energy needed to manufacture thatgrains contain nutrients and toxins fertilizer could provide a year’sthat disrupt the soil ecosystem, poison worth of power for about 1 millionwildlife, and pollute local and far-off Americans.waterways.  Livestock may damage the land they Agriculture has an enormous graze on by compacting the soil,impact on soil and soil quality: Graz- making it difficult for the soil toing land and cropland are the second- absorb water.and third-largest uses of land in the  Soil—and crops—can be contami-United States (forests are the largest), nated with cadmium, lead, andtogether accounting for just under other heavy metals in sewage sludgehalf of America’s total acreage.2 In and chemical fertilizers.contrast, urbanization and sprawlaffect only about 3 to 5 percent of the U.S. land area.3 Importance of Good TopsoilSoil, along with water and sunlight, is one of the three fundamental ele-ments of crop production. A thick layer of topsoil, rich in such nutrientsas nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, absorbs and holds rainwater welland provides the best environment for growing crops. But topsoil can be lost, leached away by water or blown away by wind.The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that almost 2 billiontons of topsoil eroded from cropland in 2001.4 That’s a huge amount, butrepresents a 40 percent decline since 1982. The main cause of erosion is thelack of plants that hold the soil in place. Native meadow grasses, hay, andsmall grains such as wheat help protect topsoil by providing a solid coverover a field.5 Many large farms, however, plant livestock feed crops, such ascorn and soybeans, that are grown in rows and endanger topsoil since thebare patches between each row are relatively susceptible to erosion. Theloss of topsoil reduces fertility,6 which increases the need for chemical fer-tilizers. And the switch from healthy natural topsoil to artificial nutrientsleads to a whole host of problems—nutrient imbalances, runoff, and waterpollution—detailed later in this chapter.
  • Argument #3. Better Soil • 75Livestock’s Demand on SoilFeeding grain to livestock and then eating the livestock (or their eggs ormilk) needs a lot more land than just eating the grains themselves. Raisinglivestock creates a huge demand for corn, soybeans, and a few other crops.About 66 percent of U.S. grain ends up as livestock feed at home or abroad.7While pigs and chickens consume a good share of that grain, cattle at feed-lots are the biggest consumers, in part because they are the least efficient con-verters of grain to meat. Outside the United States, livestock consume only 21percent of total grainproduction, with thevast majority of grainconsumed directlyby people. But asnations’ incomes rise,so does their appetitefor pork, chicken, andgrain-fed beef. Frequently, farm-ers respond to thehuge demand for feedgrains by turning tomonocropping—rais-ing single crops overhuge areas—or theyuse limited rotations,where two crops des-tined for livestock feedare raised in alternat- It’s much more efficient in terms of land, water, and other resourcesing years. About 16 for people to eat grains, such as the wheat grown on this Utah farm, than for people to eat foods from animals that ate the grain.percent of corn—over12 million acres—is raised without any rotation at all, though the majorityof corn—59 percent—is rotated with soybeans.8 Meadow grasses and smallgrains (such as wheat), both vital to the preservation of topsoil, are includedin only 8 percent of corn rotations, according to the USDA.9 Good soil health depends on several factors, including maintainingnutrient and organic matter content and avoiding topsoil loss.10 Robustcrop variation—including seasons when land remains fallow altogether—iscritical to maintaining optimal soil health. Including soybeans in a rota-tion helps maintain nutrient levels because soybeans and other legumescan “fix” nitrogen (the process by which bacteria convert nitrogen from its
  • 76 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietrelatively inert gaseous form in the atmosphere into compounds usefulas nutrients, such as nitrate). However, soybeans, because they leave littleresidue on the field after harvest, are even less protective of topsoil lossthan corn.11ErosionA typical acre of U.S. cropland loses 5 tons of soil each year.12 About 20 per-cent of cropland—some 65 million acres—erodes at a rate that actuallydecreases its productivity.13 The resulting nutrient losses and lowered yieldscost almost $10 billion per year (see table 1). And soil’s reduced water-hold-ing capacity is not only costly (an estimated $3.2 billion per year) but self-perpetuating. It increases the rate of further erosion because unabsorbedwater flows over the soil, with less water remaining for plants. Eroded soilstherefore likely need more irrigation than “healthy” land—but irrigation, inturn, promotes more erosion. The problems caused by cropland erosion extend well beyond the farm.Soil carried away by wind creates dust and haze and causes respiratory ill-nesses and property damage, which together cost over $14 billion per year.14Impaired water quality, due to sediment damage from agricultural runoff,accounts for about one-third of the cost of erosion. When soil is depositedinto water, the suspended particles block sunlight, impairing the growth of Eroded Soil, Eroded Yields Row crops such as corn and soybeans are vulnerable to erosion because of the naked patches of land that lie between the rows. Some soil-building innovations, such as planting cover crops after the main crop has been harvested,15 almost keep pace with erosion, but they are not universally used. Comparing cropland to other land uses demonstrates how damaging row-crop pro- duction is to topsoil. Erosion reduces the productivity of more than 20 percent of cropland. That compares to only 6 percent of private pas- tureland—or fewer than 8 mil- lion acres.16 Because respon- sibly grazed pastureland typi- cally has limited exposed soil, only about 1 ton of soil is lost per acre of pasture per year, in contrast to the 5 tons for cropland.
  • Argument #3. Better Soil • 77 Table 1. The cost of erosion on all U.S. cropland (2004 $)17 Cost per ton of Total cost per Location Problem eroded topsoil year (billions) Nutrient losses and reduced yields 5.16 9.8 Cropland Reduced water-holding capacity 1.69 3.2 Impaired water quality 7.44 14.1 Offsite (off Property damage 3.89 7.4 cropland) Health effects from air pollution 3.72 7.1 Total $21.90 $41.6aquatic plants and depriving animals that feed on them of food. Sedimentcan also raise water temperatures, disrupting the habitats of aquatic spe-cies. But perhaps the greatest harm is not from the soil itself, but from fertil-izers and pesticides that attach to soil particles.18 The cost of water pollutionfrom erosion is estimated at $14 billion per year—and that doesn’t take intoaccount the health and environmental harm from runoff from agriculturalchemicals.19“Erosion is one of those problems that nickels and dimes you to death: One rainstorm can wash away1 millimeter of dirt. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider a hectare (2.5 acres), it would take 13tons of topsoil—or 20 years if left to natural processes—to replace that loss.… Yet controlling soil erosion isreally quite simple: The soil can be protected with cover crops when the land is not being used to grow crops.”—David Pimentel, professor of ecology, Cornell University20
  • 78 • Six Arguments for a Greener DietCompactionCompaction occurs when topsoil—particularly when it is wet—is subjectedto the intense weight of the heavy machinery farmers use to cultivate, plant,and harvest fields and of large livestock such as cattle—though machin-ery typically is the more damaging.21 Compaction makes soil too dense forplant roots to penetrate easily, reducing the rates of plant growth and cropyields.22 It also reduces soil’s ability to absorb water. The American Societyof Agricultural Engineers found that pasture grazed by cattle for 10 yearsabsorbs less than one-fifth as much water as ungrazed pasture.23 One con-sequence of compaction is erosion, because water that is not absorbed runsoff, carrying topsoil with it. Soil compaction is a major problem on western rangelands where cattlecongregate in the biologically rich areas along the banks of waterways or inwetlands. That compaction reduces the capacity of those wetlands and soilto hold water, which leads to greater flooding and inhibits the rechargingof water tables. Compaction poses a different, but not a lesser, problem in the arid andsemiarid regions of the West. Few grasses, bushes, and other plants growon these lands. Instead, the main soil covering is an interconnected com-munity—collectively referred to as microbiotic crust—of mosses, lichens,and cyanobacteria. (This last is an unusual form of bacterium that useschlorophyll and other pigments to capture light for photosynthesis.) Crustshelp hold soil nutrients, control water absorption, and create a medium forplant growth. Although tough enough to support life in some of the hottest,driest climates in the United States, crusts are quite vulnerable to physicaldisturbances. Because the crusts are only 1 to 4 millimeters thick (less thanone-sixth of an inch), compaction and grazing by cattle can easily destroythem. And that destruction inevitably leads to erosion, water loss, andharm to native plant species. Moreover, crust recovers extremely slowly.Full regeneration takes 50 to 250 years, depending on the extent of damage,according to government scientists.24 Another Problem: Exotics Heavy grazing by livestock promotes the spread of exotic, invasive weeds. Those plants provide less-suitable land cover and do not hold soil together as well as native plants. Cattle contribute to the spread of such weeds in three ways:  They graze on native species, ignoring exotic weeds, which can then proliferate.  They spread the seeds of exotic plants.  Trampling by animal hooves makes ideal seedbeds for exotic plants.25
  • Argument #3. Better Soil • 79New Practices Help, but More Help Is NeededOver the past two decades, farmers have used various measures to betterconserve farmland. And that has paid off: In 1982, 3 billion tons of topsoileroded from cropland. By 1997, that figure was reduced by 40 percent to justunder 2 billion tons.26 But in some areas, soil losses remain well above lev-els of sustainability. Several factors account for the dramatic improvement in soil conser-vation. For starters, the USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) haspaid tens of thousands of farmers to idle their most erodible lands, therebydramatically improving soil health. The CRP idles about 35 million acresof land.27 Only about 1 percent of CRP land, fewer than 1 million acres, iseroding at an unsustainable rate.28, That success is impressive, particularlysince most of the land included in the program was experiencing seriouserosion. The CRP shows that even in extreme cases, strong (though expen-sive) measures can protect the land. Farmers also have reduced erosion by using conservation tillage or reducedtillage on roughly half the nation’s cropland. That practice cuts back on plowing and leaves crop residue (such as cornstalks) on the ground after harvest to prevent erosion.29 “No-till” agriculture, which is facilitated by genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant soybean and corn varieties, barely disturbs soil from plant- ing to harvest time.30 Farmers also have been planting buffer strips or terracing land to helpNo-till soybean crops minimize soil erosion. reduce erosion. Topsoil losses persist nonetheless. Reducing or eliminating theneed for corn, soybeans, wheat, and other grains for livestock feed—especially for cattle—could further reduce erosion. In theory, ceasing CRP land may be grazed or cut for hay under emergency conditions such as drought oran animal feed shortage, but it otherwise remains fallow.  Though the vast majority of acres enrolled in the CRP are “highly erodible land,” otherlands are also enrolled to protect wildlife habitats and water quality and to address otherenvironmental problems. Inclusion of those acres lowers the average rate of erosion on CRPland. Wind erosion still occurs on about 420,000 acres of CRP land and water erosion on365,000 acres, with some land experiencing both types of erosion. However, even if therewere no overlap, only 2.4 percent of all CRP land would experience erosion-induced produc-tivity losses.
  • 80 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietgrain production for livestockwould allow close to 100 millionacres to lie fallow and revert tonatural grasslands and wood-lands.31 That shift could saveas much as 700 million tonsof topsoil per year. In reality,though, much of that landwould be used to grow cropsfor export or for conversionto gasohol, high-fructose corn Alternating strips of alfalfa with corn on the contour helps reduce soil erosion on this Iowa farm.syrup, and other products, andsome would be planted in crops that would replace some of the meat in our diet. Effects of What We’re Putting on the SoilLoss of topsoil decreases productivity, so to compensate for that farmersadd soil nutrients. That means applying fertilizer—and lots of it—in theform of chemicals, manure, or treated sewage sludge.Chemical FertilizersFertilizer causes environmental problems primarily because farmers oftenapply too much to their land. Because about half of all fertilizer applied in the United States is used solely for raising feed grains for animals, reduc- ing that usage could reduce environmental degradation.32 Even when not over-applied, nitrogen fertilizer causes seri- ous environmental problems. That fertil- izer is usually applied as ammonium nitrate,which can react with oxygen in the air and release ammonia. Ammonia candamage local ecosystems, including the plant life on the fertilized land.33When carried by wind and rain, the ammonia may be deposited in water-ways and affect distant ecosystems (see “Ammonia,” p. 104, for furtherdetails).
  • Argument #3. Better Soil • 81 Fertilizer Used to Produce Meat, Poultry, Eggs, and Milk Producing different animal products requires very different amounts of fertilizer.34 In all, 22 billion pounds of fertilizer are used per year. Fertilizer nutrients used per year (billion pounds) 9 Fertilizer nutrients required per pound of food (pounds) 8 0.45 0.40 0.35 7 0.30 0.25 6 0.20 0.15 0.10 5 0.05 0 4 Pork Beef Chicken Eggs Milk 3 2 1 0 Pork Beef Chicken Eggs Milk Notes: Inset chart is for cooked food, except for milk. Data exclude exported crops and food.  Hogs are the least fertilizer-efficient of major farm animals, partly because, unlike cattle, they eat grains their entire lives. It takes about a pound of fertil- izer to produce 2½ pounds of cooked pork.  Producing beef requires large amounts of fertilizer, in large part because cattle are inefficient converters of feed to meat. One pound of fertilizer is needed to produce 3 pounds of cooked beef.  Chicken and egg production require less than half as much fertilizer per pound as beef or pork. When the oxygen content of soil is low, nitrogen fertilizer undergoes aprocess called denitrification, which yields a variety of nitrogen-containinggases, including nitrogen gas, nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide (which aretogether known as NOx,, since, in the presence of sunlight, they rapidlyinterconvert), and nitrous oxide. The harmless nitrogen gas simply returns The fact that oxygen-containing species are produced may seem strange consideringthat the reaction takes place in the absence of oxygen. What actually happens is that in oxy-gen-poor conditions, anaerobic bacteria strip the oxygen from nitrogen dioxide (which occursnaturally in soil or is deposited by acid rain), releasing nitrogen gas and nitric oxide into
  • 82 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietto the atmosphere. However, NOx destroys ozone, impairs lung function,and contributes to fog and acid rain.35 It also travels even farther from itssource than ammonia.36 Nitrous oxide is a destructive greenhouse gas300 times more potent than carbon dioxide (for more on this topic, see“Nitrous Oxide” and “Nitric Oxide and Nitrogen Dioxide,” pp. 107 and108).37 Agriculture contributes about 37 percent of all nitrous oxide releasesin the United States, with much of that coming from fertilizer. Besides polluting the air, fertilizers also increase the acidity of soil.38That reduces the soil’s ability to hold nutrients and can permanently reducesoil productivity. Acidification ordinarily is controlled by applying evenmore chemicals, such as lime (calcium carbonate).Heavy Metals in Chemical FertilizerThe potash and phosphate ores used to produce chemical fertilizers fre-quently contain heavy metals that may contaminate the soils on which theyare used. Those contaminants can be absorbed into the grains grown inthe soil, the livestock that consume those grains, and eventually the peo-ple who consume the resulting meat and dairy products.39 The U.S. Envi-ronmental Protection Agency recognizes that cadmium, lead, arsenic, zinc,and other minerals sometimes contaminate fertilizer.40 With intensiveapplication of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium fertilizers, cadmium andlead levels in soil can double in a dozen years.41 Liming materials, such assludge from water treatment facilities (see “‘Biosolids’ Fertilizer: ProcessedSludge,” p. 84), also contain a potpourri of heavy metals, including mer-cury.42 So when liming materials are used to reduce the acidity of soil, theyalso may pollute it. A 1999 study of toxic waste in California by the nonprofit Environmen-tal Working Group found that one in six samples of commercial fertilizersexceeded the state’s criteria for what constitutes hazardous waste. Amongthe heavy metals detected, lead and arsenic were present in the greatestamounts.43 The concentrations of metals may be even greater in manure than inchemical fertilizers, and transferring them to soil may lead to higher lev-els in food crops.44 In fact, many poultry farmers add to feed an arsenic-containing drug, roxarsone, to kill parasites that slow the animals’ growth.The U.S. Geological Survey states that each year the poultry litter that isspread onto nearby fields contains 2 million pounds of roxarsone and“could result in localized arsenic pollution.”45 Johns Hopkins Universitythe atmosphere. Oxygen in the atmosphere readily recombines with those gases to producenitrous oxide and NOx.
  • Argument #3. Better Soil • 83 Manure—Excess of RichesIn 2000, livestock in the United States produced about 3 trillion pounds46 of manure(including feces, urine, and poultry litter). That’s 10 times as much as people pro-duced.47 Cattle accounted for about three-fourths of the manure (see figure).48In 1997, farms produced 1.5 bil- Annual manure production (billion pounds)lion pounds more manure nitrogen 2,500and almost 1 billion pounds more 2,000manure phosphorus than could be 1,500used on fields.49 However, much 1,000cattle manure is deposited harm- 500lessly (or beneficially) on pasture- 0land. Cattle Chicken Hogs & turkeysFarmers typically deal with thatover-abundance of manure by spraying it on nearby fields as fertilizer. That addsorganic matter to soil, increasing the soil’s water-holding capacity and fertility.It also spares the considerable resources needed to manufacture chemical fertil-izers.50But using manure as fertilizer has severe limitations. For starters, the nutrientsoccur primarily in an organic form and are relatively unusable by plants, whichprefer inorganic nutrients. Also, manure may be difficult to collect, expensiveto store and transport, and not have the desired proportions of nutrients.51 TheUniversity of Maryland Agricultural Extension Service states, “Typically if a farmeruses manure to fulfill a crop’s nitrogen requirements, he is overfertilizing forphosphorus and potassium. If manure is used to meet phosphorus or potassiumrequirements, additional nitrogen will be required from other sources.”52 Also, therelease of nutrients from manure to the soil cannot be timed to match the needsof plants, as it can with chemicals. Faced with mountains of manure from intensive feeding operations, research- ers are exploring new solutions. Dried manure can be burned as an energy source, be added to aquaculture ponds to induce algal growth (which would pro- vide food for fish), or even be used as a building material. Of course, one obvi- ous way to reduce the 3–trillion-poundannual load of animal manure would be to reduce animal populations and rely lesson cattle feedlots. Eating less meat, especially from animals raised in confine-ment, would encourage farmers to do that.
  • 84 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietresearchers warn that “If animal waste were classified as hazardous waste,it would be prohibited from land disposal based solely on its concentrationsof leachable arsenic.”53“Biosolids” Fertilizer: Processed SludgeTo address their waste-disposal problems, cities sell treated sewage sludge—biosolids—to farmers cheaply as fertilizer. Sixty percent of processed urbansewage sludge—3.4 million tons per year—is now applied as fertilizer. Intheory, that approach is mutually beneficial, because it enables cities to dis-pose of their waste, while providing farmers with affordable fertilizer. Theone problem—and it’s a significant one—is that sewage can be tainted withindustrial waste and pathogens.54 Government regulations are supposed torestrict levels of heavy metals; volatile organic chemicals; and pathogenicbacteria, viruses, and parasites.55 But the controls sometimes fail. In 2003,hundreds of cows at Georgia dairy farms died after they ate hay grown onfields fertilized by processed sewage sludge.56 Currently, fertilizer manufacturers are not required to discloseheavy-metal content on product labels, so the full extent of the problem isunknown. To date, only Washington and Texas limit heavy-metal contami-nants (including those from industrial sludge) in fertilizer.57Pesticides: Gauging the Health RiskLarge amounts of pesticides—and potentially dangerous (and misnamed)inert chemicals included in pesticide products—continue to be applied tosoil, though the current volume is 40 percent less than was used in the late1970s and early 1980s.58 Pesticides can unintentionally harm plants and ani-mals; organisms living in the soil; and fish and other animals, plants, andmicroorganisms in the waterways into which the chemicals are carried.Because they adhere to particles in soil, pesticides can be carried long dis-tances on dust and then tracked into homes and public spaces. Glyphosate (marketed under the name Roundup) and atrazine are thetwo most widely used herbicides, helping control weeds on millions ofacres of soybeans, corn, and other crops. Over 100 million pounds of thosetwo pesticides are used every year. Even though their half-lives are moder-ate (between 30 and 100 days, depending on environmental conditions59),significant residues still may be present in soil after a year. Because of their widespread use, scientists have explored the possibleenvironmental and health effects of glyphosate and atrazine. Both havebeen implicated in the decreases in amphibian populations seen in theupper Midwest and elsewhere around the world. University of Pittsburgh
  • Argument #3. Better Soil • 85researchers have discoveredthat a supposedly inert ingre-dient in glyphosate endangersamphibians.60 Rick Relyea andtwo colleagues studied thedetergent (polyethoxylated tal-lowamine) that helps glypho-sate get into plant leaves. Atdoses that are likely to occurin nature, the detergent killstadpoles and frogs. Relyeaconsiders Roundup “extremelylethal to amphibians.” The gray tree frog (on top) and American toad (on Atrazine, used by most bottom) are both harmed by an ingredient in the herbicide Roundup.corn farmers, also affectsamphibians. Tyrone Hayes and his colleagues at the University of Califor-nia at Berkeley exposed frogs to levels of atrazine lower than what is per-mitted in drinking water and found that the herbicide caused gonadal andlimb abnormalities and hermaphroditism.61 Hayes uses the term “chemicalcastration,” and says, “because the hormones that are being interfered withoccur in all vertebrates, maybe they’re telling us it’s just a matter of time”before atrazine is found to harm humans.62 Pesticides eventually are broken down in the soil by microorganismsor through chemical reactions, or they are carried into groundwater orstreams. Some of the harm they can cause there is discussed in “PesticidesWash Off of Farmland,” p. 100. What It All MeansHealthy topsoil is crucial to producing crops, but modern agriculture hasplaced extraordinary demands on cropland. The enormous quantities offeed grains that farmers produce help satisfy our desire for inexpensivemeat and dairy products—but at great cost to topsoil, the environment, andeven human health. The row crops that stretch from one end of the horizonto the other in many parts of the United States provide less anchorage fortopsoil, increasing erosion. The chemical and biosolids fertilizers applied tofarmland sometimes upset the balance of nutrients, as well as release intothe atmosphere gases that harm human health and the environment. Andthe pesticides applied to the land and crops disrupt ecosystems, harm wild-life, and—as discussed in “Risks from Pesticides,” p. 53—endanger farm-workers and possibly consumers.
  • Argument #4.More and Cleaner Water Lake McConaughy, which receives most of its water from the North Platte River, was once considered “Nebraska’s ocean” and was a haven for migrating eagles and other birds. But times have changed. After years of heavy irriga- tion by farmers raising animal feed grains such as soybeans and corn, fully half the water the lake can hold has been lost, especially during dry summers. Consequently, water supplies for hydroelectric power are on the wane, and the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, the lake’s owner, is severely rationing water for farmers and ranchers. Although that might help future conditions, irrigation has, in the words of local resident Ruth Clark, taken “a beautiful, majestic lake and turned it into a mud hole.”1R aising livestock requires enormous amounts of water. Although the United States is blessed with water supplies far exceeding consumption,water is not distributed evenly throughoutthe country. In large swaths of the West,demand from farmers who want to irrigatetheir crops and the thirst of soaring urbanpopulations often outstrip the supply. Cities 87
  • 88 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietsuch as Albuquerque, Denver, and  Agriculture uses about 80 percent ofPhoenix, all of which draw water all freshwater in the United States.from the Colorado River, face  It takes about 1,000 gallons of irri-water shortages and water-quality gation water to produce a quarter-problems due to local farmers (who pound of animal protein.were there first).2 Farms, especially  Half of all irrigation water is used tothose growing feed grains and raise livestock. About 14 trillion gal-cotton and raising livestock, are lons annually water crops grown tousing up groundwater and surface feed U.S. livestock; another 1 trillionwater—permanently. At the same are used directly by livestock.time, those farms cause soil erosion  The water used to irrigate justand dump fertilizer, manure, alfalfa and hay—7 trillion gallons perpesticides, and topsoil into nearby year—exceeds the irrigation needsrivers and streams. The end result in of all the vegetables, berries, and fruit orchards combined.some places is water so polluted it isunsafe to drink and uninhabitable  Farms pollute water with fertilizer, pesticides, manure, antibiotics, andby various aquatic animals. eroded soil. The Water Cost of Meat ProductionProducing meat takes large amounts of water (see figure 1). The ani-mals themselves need water to drink and to cool themselves, and farm-ers need vastly greater amounts of irrigation water to grow the grainsand roughage that are fed to the animals. An average of about 1,000 gal- Figure 1. Water used to produce various crops, chicken, and beef3 Gallons/pound 20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000 0 Potatoes Corn Wheat Alfalfa Sorghum Rice Soy- Chicken Beef beans Note: Crops are expressed in dry weights. Chicken and beef are adjusted to edible portion; our adjustment assumes that 28 percent of beef cattle and 39 percent of chicken is edible. Figures include water from rain and irrigation.
  • Argument #4. More and Cleaner Water • 89lons of irrigation water are Figure 2. Water consumption in theneeded to produce 1 pound United States, 19956of animal protein (more forbeef, less for poultry). That Mining Thermo-irrigation water is supple- electric Commer- 1%mented by larger amounts of 3% cial Livestockrainwater, especially in big 3% 0.5% Industrialcorn-growing states such as 4%Illinois and Iowa.4 Domestic Together, irrigating feed 5%crops and raising livestockconsume over half of all Other Irrigation offreshwater (see figure 2).5 In irrigation feed crops 27% for U.S. usecontrast, domestic uses—all 56%showers taken, toilets flushed,cars washed, glasses drunk,and lawns watered—consumeless than one-tenth as muchwater as agriculture. Total: 37 trillion gallons/year Irreplaceable Groundwater Is Being DepletedAbout 90 percent of U.S. water is renewable, coming from rain, lakes, andrivers. The remainder largely is from nonrenewable underground aquifers(groundwater).7 Agriculture accounts for about 80 percent of all freshwaterconsumption in the United Sates and over 60 percent of groundwateruse.8, Nationally, though many aquifers get recharged, the overall rate atwhich water is removed from aquifers exceeds the rate of replenishmentby as much as 21 billion gallons per day.9 In the largest and perhaps mostseverely depleted aquifer—the Ogallala, which underlies parts of Texas,New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, andWyoming—water levels are falling several inches per year.10 The OgallalaAquifer is 1,000 feet deep in some parts of Nebraska, but in some parts ofthe Great Plains, it has dropped from 230 feet deep to only about 20 feetover the past 25 years.11 The majority of water extracted from the Ogallala isused to irrigate crops.12 Some farmers who depend on it may be facing highprices or dry wells in coming years. Both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Geological Survey estimate waterusage, but they use different measuring techniques and report somewhat different amounts.This chapter uses figures from both agencies as noted in the text and endnotes.
  • 90 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet When an aquifer shrinks in coastal areas—including those with farmsnearby—saltwater replaces groundwater. That permanently diminishesthe aquifer’s value.13 Additionally, the loss of underlying groundwatersometimes causes land subsidence, a sinking of the Earth’s surface. Landsubsidence has affected more than 17,000 square miles in 45 states—anarea twice the size of New Jersey.14 According to a 1991 estimate from theNational Research Council, land subsidence causes flooding and damageto buildings, roads, and other structures, with the cost amounting to over$125 million per year.15 Irrigation Water: Trillions of Gallons WastedAmerican farmers irrigate about 56 million acres of land, or 88,000 squaremiles.16 Some 23 million of those acres—an area the size of Indiana—aredevoted to crops destined for livestock feed.17 The most frequently irrigatedcrops are feed corn (some is also used to produce ethanol fuel) and hay,with another 4 to 5 million acres each being planted in soybeans; sorghum,barley, and wheat; and cotton (cottonseed meal is used as livestock feed).In stark contrast, vegetables,vineyards, and fruit and nut- Figure 3. Irrigated area by crop type, 2000 (acres)19tree orchards together occupyonly 7 million acres of irri- Other Corngated land.18 (See figure 3.) The amount of water 10.3 10.2 million milliondevoted to irrigating alfalfaand other hay—7 trillion Rice 3.1 milliongallons annually—exceeds 9.6 Sorghum, million 4.9 millionthe irrigation needs of all barley,vegetables, berries, and fruit wheat 5.2 Allorchards combined.20 million 7.0 hay 5.3 million Of the roughly 28 trillion Soybeans milliongallons of water used for irriga- Orchards & Cottontion each year, about 14 trillion vegetablesare applied to the grains, oil-seeds, pasture, and hay that are fed to livestock in the United States, and anadditional 3 trillion gallons are used to produce grains for food or export.21Irrigation Methods Are Often InefficientEfficient irrigation methods could help preserve scarce water supplies, butabout half of the irrigated acres in the United States use wasteful systems.22The least efficient ones either run water down furrows (trenches) or sim-
  • Argument #4. More and Cleaner Water • 91Level-basin flood irrigation is often used, as on this wheat field, where more-efficient drip irrigationis not appropriate.ply flood fields. Roughly 45 percent of irrigated acres rely on more efficientsystems, such as center-pivot sprinkler irrigation (creating those large cir-cles that can be seen when flying over Nebraska and other Great Plainsstates).23 But only 4 percent use highly efficient low-flow systems, such asdrip irrigation. Though more expensive than flooding systems, drip irriga-tion can reduce water use by 30 to 70 percent and increase crop yields by20 to 90 percent.24 Adopting better conservation practices and more efficienttechnologies, which many farmers are now doing, could save tremendousamounts of water. The timing, as well as the method, of irrigation can waste water andresult in “waterlogging, increased soil salinity, erosion, and surface andgroundwater quality problems associated with nutrients, pesticides, andpathogens,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).25 In2003, only 8 percent of farmers who irrigated their crops measured the mois-ture content of their plants or soil before irrigating.26 University of Californiaat Berkeley researchers found that the use of computer models enabled farm-ers to use 13 percent less water and increase crop yields by 8 percent.27Irrigation May Be a Bad InvestmentIrrigated crops account for about one-half of all crop sales in the UnitedStates, even though they are harvested from only one-sixth of all cropland.28
  • 92 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Subsidizing—and Wasting—Water American taxpayers provide lavish funding for water projects, mostly benefiting large-scale agriculture and meat-eating consumers. In 1988, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that from 1902—when federal irrigation projects began— through the 1980s, federal subsidies totaled between $34 billion and $70 billion.29 The World Resources Institute estimates that the federal government—taxpayers— pays an average of 83 percent of the costs of irrigation projects.30 Taxpayers help farmers in two ways. First, tax dollars are used to build the sys- tems, then farmers buy water from the projects at a fraction of the cost of pump- ing or diverting the water. For example, the actual cost of water from the Central Arizona Project, which in 1993 began diverting water for irrigation from the Colo- rado River, is $209 per acre-foot—yet farmers in Arizona pay only $2 per acre-foot, according to the Congressional Budget Office.31 Similarly, the full cost of delivering water from the Central Utah Project is $400 per acre-foot, but farmers pay only $8 per acre-foot.32 In a 2004 study of California water subsidies, the nonprofit Envi- ronmental Working Group (EWG) found that American taxpayers are providing up to $416 million per year for California’s Central Valley Project. On average, farmers in the Central Valley pay about $17 per acre-foot of water. In stark contrast, Los Angelenos pay about $925 per acre-foot for the water they use. Of the 6,800-plus farms in the Central Valley Project, the top 341 largest were given access to about half of the subsidized irrigation water.33 Those large farms have little incentive to use the cheap irrigation water efficiently. According to EWG, California’s Central Valley has long suffered a host of environmental problems due to over-irrigation, including “devastation of fish and wildlife habitat and severe toxic pollution.”Using irrigation to increase yields means that less land is required to meetthe same production goals (it also may contribute to over-production). In the case of feed crops, the USDA estimates that 100 gallons of irriga-tion water generates only a few cents in increased farm revenue—hardly agreat bargain.34 The same water could be used for more lucrative purposes.For example, an irrigated acre of corn yields about 163 bushels, which in2002 was worth about $383. In contrast, 1 irrigated acre could produceabout $2,400 worth of potatoes or $4,100 worth of apples.35 The nonprofitNatural Resources Defense Council estimated that “a 60-acre alfalfa farmusing 240 acre-feet of water would generate approximately $60,000 insales. In contrast, a semiconductor plant using the same amount of waterwould generate 5,000 times as much, or $300 million.”36, While a 60-acrefarm could employ as few as 2 workers, the semiconductor plant would An acre-foot is the amount of water it takes to cover 1 acre of land to a depth of 1 foot.
  • Argument #4. More and Cleaner Water • 93employ about 2,000. In an analysis of water needs in Western states, theCongressional Budget Office concluded that scarce water supplies shouldbe reallocated from agricultural practices to more economically productiveuses to improve what it termed “net social welfare.”37 Livestock’s Consumption of Water Is Huge—and GrowingFarm animals directly consume about 2.3 billion gallons of water per day,or over 800 billion gallons per year. Another 200 billion gallons are used tocool the animals and wash down their facilities, bringing the total to about1 trillion gallons.38 That is twice as much water as is used by the 9 mil-lion people in the New York City area.39 Although water use for livestockaccounts for a tiny share of national water consumption—about 0.5 per-Cattle on this treeless, pondless California feedlot need a lot of water to beat the heat.cent—it is the fastest-growing portion, both in terms of water to drink andthe “virtual” water used to grow grains, oilseeds, hay, and pasture.40 From1990 to 1995, most categories of water (surface and ground) consumptionfell, but water for public use grew by 4 percent and water use for livestock(including fish farming) grew by 13 percent.41 Combined with the grow-ing number of livestock over the past 20 years, the increasing number oflarge cattle feedlots and industrial hog farms may contribute to the ris-ing demand for water.42 Hog farms use large volumes of water to preparemanure for storage in huge lagoons (see “Manure Lagoons: Accidents Wait-ing to Happen,” p. 94), and feedlots employ misting systems to cool cattle.On traditional farms, in contrast, livestock might find shade or other natu-ral ways to cool off. Public use includes water withdrawn by public or private water suppliers to use forhome, commercial, industrial, or municipal (for example, firefighting and street cleaning)purposes.
  • 94 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Manure Lagoons: Accidents Waiting to Happen Manure lagoons are supposed to provide safe storage. One maker of lagoon liners advertises “long-term durability, resis- tance to weathering and low maintenance … can withstand normal environmental expo- sure for well over 30 years.”43 But sometimes accidents hap- pen. Then, tidal waves of foul- smelling, bacteria-laden lique- fied manure flood the land and pollute the water. Just such an environmental disaster hap- pened in June 1995 when an 8–acre cesspool breached (due partly to an unauthorized alter- ation) and spilled 22 million gal- lons of waste from the Ocean- view Hog Farm into North Car- olina’s New River Basin. That was the state’s largest-ever spill. The waste poured onto nearby farmland, made its way into the river, and robbed the water of much of its oxygen. Thousands of fish were killed, and 364,000 acres of coastal wetlands were closed to shellfish- ing.44 Upstate New York experienced the same kind of manure accident in August 2005 when, according to the Associated Press, “an earthen wall blew out, sending the liquid into a drainage ditch and then into the [Black] River.” The “liquid” was 3 million gallons of dairy cow waste—a fish-killing “toxic tide” that was predicted to reach Lake Ontario several days later.45 Modern Farming Practices Pollute WaterIrrigation water, pesticides, fertilizer, manure, drugs … they are all widelyused or produced on farms, and they often end up polluting nearby streams.The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that “agricul-ture generates pollutants that degrade aquatic life or interfere with publicuse of 173,629 river miles (i.e., 25% of all river miles surveyed) and contrib-utes to 70% of all water quality problems identified in rivers and streams.”46
  • Argument #4. More and Cleaner Water • 95The pollution, if great enough, kills fish and other aquatic life, prevents peo-ple from swimming, reduces crop yields, and impairs drinking water.Irrigation Leads to Erosion, Runoff, and SalinizationIn addition to wasting water, irrigation can degrade the environment. Ero-sion affects over 20 percent of America’s irrigated cropland. When furrowsare used to channel irrigation water, sediment runoff often exceeds 9 tons—and sometimes even reaches 45 tons—per acre. Center-pivot sprinkler irri-gation causes soil losses as high as 15 tons per acre. The financial cost ofreplacing nutrients from lost soil runs into billions of dollars annually (see“Erosion,” p. 76).47 In southern Idaho, for example, irrigation-induced ero-sion has reduced overall crop-yield potential (the estimated seasonal maxi-mum yield) by about 25 percent.48 Eroded soil pollutes waterways. The USDA considers sediment fromeroded soil to be the “largest contaminant of surface water by weight andvolume.”49 In addition, excess irrigation water may pick up contaminants andcarry them to rivers and streams. Those contaminants commonly includepesticides and heavy metals (which can contaminate fish) and nutrients from manure or fertil- izer (which can lead to algal blooms and loss of oxygen).50 In California, selenium— which is a naturally oc­cur­ring element in soil—was so highly concentrated in irriga- tion water runoff that it caused an epidemic of deformities in mi­grating waterfowl,These sibling stilt embryos show the effect of selenium including hatchlingscontamination. The embryo on the right came from an egg withrelatively low selenium content and is normal in outward appearance born with no eyes orfor this incubation stage. The embryo on the left came from an feet (see photo).51egg with highly elevated selenium content and exhibits overallstunting (compare the legs of the two embryos), lacks eyes, and has Water extracteda malformed right foot. from lakes andstreams may contain pollutants, such as long-banned pesticides. When thatwater is applied to farmland, some of it evaporates, leaving behind higherconcentrations of those pollutants. In other cases, pollutants settle at thebottoms of streams and lakes, causing them to concentrate and degradewater quality.52
  • 96 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Perhaps the most serious danger posed by irrigation to agriculture andthe environment is salinization. Water—especially surface water—naturallycontains salts. Irrigation water carries those salts onto cropland. When thewater evaporates, salts are left behind. Salt buildup can reduce crop yields,and, in extreme cases, may force farmers to abandon once-fertile land.Most estimates put the affected acreage at about 10 million acres, or almost20 percent of all irrigated land.53Fertilizers, Including Manure, Suffocate Water LifeFertilizer is a critical contributor to modern agriculture’s extraordinary pro-ductivity. The fertilizer industry suggests that if farmers stopped using fer-tilizers, yields of some crops would drop by 30 to 50 percent.54 However, theheavy use of fertilizers impairs water quality and harms aquatic life. About half of the 21 million tons of fertilizer used annually in the UnitedStates helps produce feed for America’s livestock (additional fertilizer isused to grow feed that is exported).55 Corn, wheat, and soybeans—all majoranimal-feed crops—are the first-, second-, and fourth-leading consumers offertilizer, respectively.56 Farmers treat cornfields with some 232 pounds offertilizer per acre. Fertilizer runoff into U.S. waterways is steadily increasing. The industry’sPotash and Phosphate Institute estimates that before North America wassettled by Europeans, nitrogen runoff into the Mississippi River Basin was0.7 to 2.1 pounds per acre per year.57 Sediment studies found protozoa thatlived in the area from 1700 until 1900, but could not survive in low-oxygenwaters thereafter.58 That suggests that hypoxia was not a problem untilfarmers began applying large amounts of fertilizers. The U.S. GeologicalSurvey (USGS) estimates that the average level of nitrogen runoff is now4 pounds per acre per year, with some areas discharging as much as 50to 100 pounds.59 The concentration of dissolved nitrogen (and phosphorus)in the Mississippi River has doubled over the past century, and each yearthat enormous river discharges 1.8 million tons of nitrogen into the Gulf ofMexico.60 According to the EPA, runoff from fertilizer and manure is the biggestpolluter of lakes and ponds and among the top five polluters of rivers andstreams.61 When those nutrients wash into waterways, they promote exces-sive growth of aquatic plants and algae. That increased growth leads tooxygen depletion and eutrophication, which occurs when the decomposi-tion of vegetation absorbs almost all of the available oxygen in the water(hypoxia). Aquatic species then either suffocate or, if they can swim, areforced out of the affected area. As Drew Edmondson, attorney general of
  • Argument #4. More and Cleaner Water • 97 Phosphate Mines Despoil Land, Air, and Water Before phosphate can be used as fertilizer for feed grains and other crops, it must be mined. Phosphate is strip-mined from near-surface deposits in Florida and Idaho and turned into fertilizer, leaving rivers polluted and landscapes dot- ted with 200-foot-high hills of slightly radioactive phospho-gypsum by-products.62 In Idaho, phosphate deposits are located within the greater Yellowstone ecosys- tem, so mining there threatens the integrity of one of America’s most treasured national parks. Indeed, two phosphate refineries in Idaho and one in Florida have been condemned as Superfund sites, ranking them among the nation’s most con- taminated spots.63 Phosphate rock typically is contaminated with heavy metals that are released during the mining process.64 In Idaho, runoff from phosphate mining has polluted nearby soil and streams with selenium. On one occasion, over 500 sheep died from grazing on heavy-metal-laden grasses near mines, and signs by streams near min- ing sites warn that the fish may be unsafe to eat. Phosphate fertilizers—12 million tons of which are produced annually—are made by treating phosphate rock with strong acids.65 Producing 1 ton of phosphate takes almost 3 tons of sulfuric or phosphoric acid.66 Those highly corrosive chemi- cals cause both air and water pollution. One such pollutant is hydrogen fluoride, deemed hazardous under the 1990 Clean Air Act.67 Chronic exposure to hydrogen fluoride weakens the skeleton, and high concentrations can irreparably damage any tissue in the body. Many phosphate factories also produce phosphoric acid, some of which escapes into the air, where it hovers as a mist that irritates mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, and throat.68Oklahoma, put it when he sued Tyson Foods and 13 other Arkansas poultrycompanies for polluting local waters, “It’s nice to have green land. It’s not sonice to have green rivers.”69 In 1974, scientists discovered that bottom-dwelling aquatic life couldnot survive in parts of the Gulf of Mexico during the summer. In 1985, that“dead zone”—which emerges each summer—covered about 3,100 squaremiles. By 1999, the dead zone had doubled in area, and in 2002 it measured8,500 square miles.70 That represents an area the size of New Jersey in whichaquatic life—including such commercially valuable species as the brownshrimp—cannot survive.71 Shellfish, starfish, sea anemones, and most otherslow-moving animals died off 30 to 40 years ago, leaving the area to a fewspecies of worms.72 The dead zone is caused largely by agricultural fertilizer runoff fromMidwestern farms that ends up first in the Mississippi River and then
  • 98 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietthe Gulf. Nutrients from agriculture—two-thirds from fertilizer and one-third from manure73—account for 80 percent of the nutrient loading in theMississippi. Reducing nitrogen losses from agriculture would be the most cost-effective way to reduce hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. The National Scienceand Technology Council, which coordinates the federal government’sscience policy, estimated the cost of reducing nitrogen runoff from agriculture at 40 cents for each pound of nitrogen kept out of the Gulf. In contrast, reducing the nitrogen flows from industrial and municipal “point” (that is, definitively identifiable) sources would cost $5 to $50 per pound of nitrogen removed.74 In December 2004,This summertime satellite photo of the Gulf of Mexico shows wheredecomposition of phytoplankton that had been fed by fertilizer Stanford Universitycreated an oxygen-poor environment hostile to marine life—the researchers provided“dead zone.” Reds and oranges indicate the most affected areas. new evidence linkingfertilizer runoff to “massive blooms of marine algae in another region.”75They used satellite imagery to study Mexico’s Yaqui River Valley—one ofthat country’s most highly farmed areas. The valley is fertilized and irri-gated in cycles over a six-month period, with waters draining into the Sea ofCortez—a long stretch of ocean that separates the bulk of Mexico from thepeninsula of Baja California. The researchers saw algal blooms covering upto 223 square miles of the sea. Those blooms appeared after each irrigationcycle, suggesting that fertilizer from irrigation runoff was the culprit.Manure Contaminates Water, but No Treatment Is RequiredBefore entering waterways, water polluted with human or other waste isprocessed in accordance with EPA regulations, which set strict limits oncontaminants. This water—from pipes, ditches, and other easily identifi-able sites—must be treated and purified, usually at a municipal water treat-ment plant.76 In contrast, livestock manure is not regulated by any standards analo-gous to those that control human waste, and farmers are not required to
  • Argument #4. More and Cleaner Water • 99treat it. Rainwater frequently carries manure downhill from pastures andfeedlots into waterways, and some manure leaches into the soil. The EPArecently began to ameliorate the problem by requiring the largest fac-tory farms to obtain permits under the National Pollution Discharge andElimination System rule—the same rule that governs major industrial andmunicipal polluters. However, only the largest concentrated animal feedingoperations (CAFOs) with 1,000 or more cattle, 2,500 or more hogs, or 30,000 ormore broiler chickens are covered by the new rules. The EPA has estimatedthat the new requirements will reduce nitrogen releases by 110 millionpounds and phosphorus releases by 56 million pounds—about a 25 percentreduction in each.77 Although that is a good start, it still means that, at most,20,000 of the more than 450,000 CAFOs in the country will have to obtainpermits.78 The remainder will continue to handle excess manure by storingit in lagoons or holding tanks, or by spraying it on fields—all methods thatfail to protect public health and the environment adequately.Where There’s Manure, There’s AmmoniaAt concentrations greater than 2 milligrams per liter (mg/l) of water, ammo-nia can kill aquatic life.79 Untreated human sewage has an ammonia concen-tration of about 50 mg/l. Wastewater treatment plants must limit ammoniain effluent to 4 mg/l in the winter and 1.5 mg/l in the summer. Yet concen-trations of ammonia in raw livestock manure can exceed 10,000 mg/l. Con-centrations in streams in rural Illinois, for example, range from 26 mg/l to1,519 mg/l. Between 1985 and 1990, the Illinois Environmental ProtectionAgency attributed 58 different fish kills—some of which destroyed entirefish populations—to pollution from livestock wastes, though whetherammonia was the primary cause is uncertain. Ammonia releases from the growing number of factory farms areaffecting more and more watersheds. Expanded poultry production inDelaware has increased ammonia releases by 60 percent. Delaware waterfeeds into the Chesapeake Bay, which receives 81 percent of its ammoniafrom livestock releases. In North Carolina, ammonia releases have doubledover the past 20 years as hog production tripled.80 Ammonia (in the ionized form of ammonium) may be deposited intowaterways as it floats back to the Earth’s surface or is carried down in rain-fall. Ammonium contributes primarily to air pollution, but also can acidifywater and increase algal blooms and eutrophication.81 Using too much manure on cropland may pollute waterways andsoil with dangerous bacteria and excess nutrients. In the upper Midwest,20 feet of soil protect the water table, reducing the risk that contaminants
  • 100 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietwill reach that water. However, in large areas of North Carolina, the watertable lies just 3 feet below the ground, dramatically increasing the chancesof contamination.82Pesticides Wash Off of FarmlandThe USDA estimates that 5 percent of agricultural pesticides are washedaway from farmland through runoff, erosion, and leaching.83 That threat-ens the safety of drinking water in many farming regions, where ground-water supplies up to 95 percent of the water used for domestic purposes.84In California’s heavily farmed San Joaquin-Tulare Basin, at least one pesti-cide was found in 59 of 100 samples taken from groundwater wells.85 A 1998USGS study found the herbicide atrazine in 38 percent of groundwater sam-ples tested; groundwater is the source of most drinking water. Metolachlorwas found in 14 percent of groundwater samples.86 The pesticides onlyoccasionally exceeded drinking water standards, but because the USGSfound so many (39) different pesticides—the majority associated with live-stock feed production—the cumulative effects of several pesticides actingtogether might be causing unexpected kinds of harm. Moreover, for severaldecades, pesticides have been accumulating in bodies of water larger thanthose tested by the USGS. For example, Lake Superior now contains almost80,000 pounds of atrazine. In 1991, over 540,000 pounds of atrazine washeddown the Mississippi River.87 Glyphosate, another widely used herbicide,has been detected in about a third of all streams in the Midwest. Its degra-dation product—aminomethylphosphonic acid—has been found in almost70 percent of those streams.88Antibiotics in Manure Contaminate WaterIn 2002, the USGS found low levels of 22 different antibiotics in a nationalsurvey of organic chemical contamination in 139 streams.89 Those crucialmedicines were the eighth-most commonly detected family of chemicalsin the survey (about the same as insecticides). The USGS study did notdetermine the sources of the antibiotics, but presumably those founddownstream of livestock operations came mostly from agriculturaluses, while those found in urban areas came largely from human uses.The presence of antibiotics in rural streams reflects the mountains ofantibiotic-laden manure produced each year and suggests that thoseantibiotics could lead to resistance among all sorts of bacteria. It’s unclearif that poses any risk to humans or wildlife, but prudence would indicatethe value of minimizing the drugs’ presence (see “Factory Farming’sAntibiotic Crutch,” p. 68).
  • Argument #4. More and Cleaner Water • 101 What It All MeansExtracting water for irrigation and livestock use is one of many areas inwhich agriculture is exceeding the limits of sustainability and harming theenvironment. In some parts of the country, groundwater supplies are beinggradually but inexorably and irreplaceably depleted. The ecological dam-age from extensive and excessive irrigation includes soil erosion, fish andbird poisonings, impaired fish habitats (threatening the very survival ofCoho and Chinook salmon throughout much of the Pacific Northwest), anddamage to roads and houses as the land below them sinks—mostly to raisecrops that generate only pennies for every 100 gallons of irrigation water.In addition, the fertilizer and pesticides used to grow feed grains and othercrops, and the manure from the animals that eat the feed, pollute water allthe way from the farm to the nation’s great rivers and the oceans. Reducing the number of animals raised for food and raising cattle onrangeland instead of in feedlots are obvious ways to reduce water con-sumption in the West and Great Plains. A complementary approach is touse water in more sustainable and productive ways. Cutting back on meatconsumption would protect waterways from pollution caused by fertilizerproduction, runoff from chemical fertilizer and manure, and soil erosion.Of course, producing more fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts still wouldrequire water, but far less than is needed to produce animal products.
  • Argument #5.Cleaner Air In February 2001, two workers at a California dairy farm were ordered by their foreman to climb into a manure storage pit to unclog a drainpipe. Soon after descending into the 30-foot-deep pit, José Alatorre—standing in manure up to his knees—began to complain that the air quality was poor. Moments later, he attempted to climb out of the pit, but was overcome by the noxious gases given off by the manure. Before losing consciousness, he called out for help. When co-worker Enrique Araisa climbed down to help Alatorre, he too succumbed to the gas. Both men drowned in the putrid, liquefied waste.1H alf a century ago, farms typically raised dozens—or at most, hun- dreds—of chickens, pigs, or cattle in their barnyardsand on their pastures. Today’s pro-duction facilities—it’s hard to usethe word “farm”—are so large andhouse such huge numbers of denselypacked livestock that they wouldhave been inconceivable to farmershalf a century ago. Consider: While 103
  • 104 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietour population almost doubled  Manure and urine on factory farmsbetween 1950 and 2003, the amount release foul-smelling gases that canof farmland fell by 22 percent to sicken humans and animals and harm939 million acres, and the number of the environment.farms plummeted by 63 percent to  Odors from large-scale livestock2.1 million.2 At the same time, how- operations can cause drowsiness,ever, red meat production more than headaches, and poor concentrationdoubled to 47 billion pounds per in nearby residents.year, and chicken production rock-  In 2000, methane belched out byeted more than 20-fold to 41 billion cattle and generated by livestockpounds annually.  3, manure had the same impact on In short, far more animals are global warming as the carbon diox- ide produced by about 33 millionbeing raised on far fewer farms. automobiles.One result is massive environmen-tal harm, including air pollution.Whereas problems from livestock and manure odors used to be relativelyrare, today’s high density of animals means that feces and urine from vastherds and flocks stink up the air, afflicting anyone unfortunate enough tolive or work downwind. Livestock excreta—including that stored in foul-smelling manure“lagoons” larger than football fields—is only the most obvious form of airpollution due to animal agriculture. The production and use of fertilizer tonourish feed grains release toxic substances that despoil the atmosphere,dust carries germs and risky chemicals, pesticides are blown far and wide,cattle belch up great volumes of a greenhouse gas, and even milling grainto make animal feed generates clouds of dust. Factory Farms Emit Noxious GasesLearning about the various air pollutants produced by today’s farms isalmost like taking a chemistry lesson. From the most harmful, ammonia, tothe most offensive, odor, a toxic cornucopia of chemicals harms everythingfrom human lungs to the Earth’s atmosphere (see figure 1).AmmoniaLivestock are the largest source of ammonia releases on Earth. In theUnited States, animal agriculture—especially from manure and fertil-izer—accounts for about 82 percent of ammonia releases.4 Cattle waste is The weight of meat or eggs produced, rather than the number of animals raised, is ourgrowth gauge, because not only are more animals being raised, but breeds of livestock gener-ally have gotten bigger. Data for chicken are for 1950 and 2002.
  • Argument #5. Cleaner Air • 105 Figure 1. Animal agriculture is a major air polluter SOURCES POLLUTANTS HARMS Manure Methane Environment global warming, Ammonia acid rain, ozone destruction, Particulate smog, eutrophi- matter cation Fertilizer Volatic organic production compounds Human health respiratory and use (animal feed) Nitrous oxide, problems, nitric oxide, Odors asphyxiation, nitrogen dioxide headaches Pesticides Carbon Animals (animal feed) dioxide respiratory illnessesresponsible for 43 percent of that discharge, swine 11 percent, and poul-try 27 percent. Most of the ammonia comes from feces, but urine adds tothe burden. Applying manure to farmland allows large amounts of ammonia toevaporate into the air.5 There, the ammonia reacts with sulfur- and nitro-gen-containing gases. Those gases can cause respiratory and other healthproblems, as well as contribute to smog and acid rain.6 Ammonia irritates mucous membranes in humans at concentrations ofabout 10 parts per million (ppm).7 The National Institute for OccupationalSafety and Health recommends a maximum safe exposure of 25 ppm. Whilea well-ventilated hog shed has concentrations of 10 to 20 ppm, sheds tendto be poorly ventilated during the winter, and ammonia levels can reach100 to 200 ppm. At those concentrations, farmworkers are likely to sufferintense irritation of the skin, eyes, nose, throat, or lungs. The hogs, whichbreathe the polluted air continuously, have an increased risk of pneumoniaand other respiratory illnesses. The manure lagoons on industrialized hog farms release large amountsof ammonia into the air.8 A study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s(USDA’s) James Zahn, an expert on factory-farm emissions, found that a2‑acre swine manure pond produced more than 100 pounds of ammoniaper day on over 200 days in a single year. On one hot day, the Missourilagoon under study released 277 pounds of ammonia.9
  • 106 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet British researchersstudied plant life neara complex that housed350,000 chickens. Theyblamed the invisiblecloud of ammonia foreliminating half of theplant species foundnear the chicken sheds.The number of speciesincreased with thedistance from the live- Lagoons on hog farms, such as this one in Iowa, may use hillsidestock buildings. How- terraces to purify wastewater, but they still emit ammonia and other air pollutants.ever, the trees, grasses,and mosses that survived had high concentrations of nitrogen in their tissue.At four-tenths of a mile from the poultry houses—the farthest the scientistsexamined—the nitrogen content of plants was twice the normal level.10 Because ammonia is highly water soluble, rain deposits airborneammonia onto land and into waterways. Once there, it can increase theacidity of soil and water, decrease the productivity of forests and coastalwaters, and disrupt ecosystem biodiversity.11 Ammonia from chickenhouses has been deemed a “silent killer of the Chesapeake Bay,” the nation’s The Effects of Air Pollution: Clouded in Uncertainty Despite uncertainty over the exact amount of damage done by air pollutants gen- erated by livestock, those compounds clearly harm humans, animals, and the envi- ronment. The National Research Council identified ammonia and odor as “major” concerns. Methane, nitrous oxide, nitric oxide, hydrogen sulfide, and particulate matter are “significant” concerns.12 Most of the research on the health effects of the gases emitted by feedlots and other large, concentrated livestock operations has focused on brief exposures to high concentrations. But residents living near factory farms are chronically exposed to lower concentrations, the effects of which are harder to study. And the health effects of certain types of emissions—most notably odor—have only begun to receive serious attention. Synergistic effects from individual pollutants may exacerbate the damage. For example, chemical reactions between carbon monoxide and other pollutants— nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds—produce ground-level ozone (smog),13 which can cause asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and other illnesses.
  • Argument #5. Cleaner Air • 107largest—and once probably richest—estuary.14 Over the past 30 years, thebay has been severely polluted by ammonia and other gases that evaporatefrom manure at nearby chicken farms. On the Delmarva Peninsula, whichstretches along the eastern side of the bay, the leavings of almost 600 millionchickens grown on 2,100 farms release some 20,000 tons of ammonia eachyear. In the summer of 2004, 27 percent of the nitrogen deposited into thebay came from ammonia that had risen from surrounding farms into theatmosphere and then drifted down into the water. Once in the water, theammonia contributes to algal blooms that deprive waterways—and theiraquatic life—of oxygen, a process called eutrophication.15 When asked about the odor around the bay, a local soybean farmerlamented, “When the winds change, [the smell] can get so bad outside yougot to close the house up with all the windows shut.”16 The Chicago Tribuneobserved that the “stench and noxious gases from large-scale livestockfarms … are tearing apart some rural communities.”17MethaneLivestock—primarily cattle—generate methane, a greenhouse gas, whenthey digest food and when bacteria digest manure. Cattle’s belching and flat-ulence are responsible for 19 percent of all methane gas released in the UnitedStates.18 Another 13 percent is released by anaerobic bacteria, which thrive inthe almost oxygen-free manure lagoons located mostly on hog farms. At concentrations of 5 to 15 percent, odorless methane can asphyxiatepeople.19 It causes occasional deaths across the United States, mostly amongfarmworkers—such as the two mentioned at the beginning of this chapterwho were cleaning manure storage tanks. Methane traps heat in the atmosphere—a process that is slowly raisingthe Earth’s temperature and causing profound climatic and environmentalchanges. On a pound-for-pound basis, methane is 23 times more conduciveto global warming than carbon dioxide.20 In 2000, livestock and manurelagoons released an amount of methane that was equivalent in environ-mental damage to the carbon dioxide from about 33 million automobiles.21Nitrous OxideNitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas that is about 300 times more powerfulthan carbon dioxide.22 About 25 percent of the nitrous oxide from animalagriculture in the United States comes from bacteria that digest animalwaste.23 Nitrous oxide is produced by anaerobic soil bacteria when manureor fertilizer is applied to land. Cattle waste accounts for over 90 percent ofthe nitrous oxide derived from livestock manure.24
  • 108 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet The only human-generated source of nitrous oxide larger thananimal waste is fertilizer applied to cropland. Because more fertilizer isused for growing livestock feed than anything else, raising animals formeat and dairy foods is the main driver of the two biggest sources ofnitrous oxide from human activities in the United States. Nitrous oxideaccounts for 6 percent of the greenhouse effect in the lower atmosphere.25When it migrates to the upper atmosphere, nitrous oxide catalyzes ozone-destroying reactions.26Nitric Oxide and Nitrogen DioxideAnother nitrogen-based air pollutant is nitric oxide. It comes mainly fromthe burning of fossil fuels but is also produced when bacteria in the soildigest nitrogen compounds. The nitrogen from livestock waste, cropland,and fertilizer “feeds” those bacteria, accounting for 5 percent of the nitricoxide generated by human activity. In Illinois, for example, over one-quarter of the nitric oxide released comes from the many cornfields.27 Farmequipment also contributes to emissions through fossil fuel combustion.28 Sunlight converts nitric oxide into nitrogen dioxide. Those two com-pounds, which are referred to collectively as nitrogen oxides, or NOx,can degrade the environment in several ways, including increasing Making Fertilizer, Making Pollution Natural gas is made into ammonia, which is then used directly as a fertilizer or used to produce urea and ammonium nitrate fertilizers. Nitrogen fertilizer fac- tories discharge ammonia and nitric acid into the air.29 They also release carbon monoxide, a greenhouse gas; fine particulate matter that can clog capillaries in the lungs and cause respiratory infections; sulfur dioxide, which readily converts into sulfuric acid and contributes to acid rain; and nitrogen compounds that con- Conversion Fact tribute to acid rain, global warming, and The amount of energy used annu- ozone depletion.30 Worldwide, fertilizer ally to produce the 22 billion production generates 1 percent of all pounds of fertilizer used to grow greenhouse gases.31 animal feed in the United States The lower ozone levels expose humans could support roughly 1 million to higher levels of ultraviolet rays. people for one year.32 Meanwhile, the acid rain degrades for- ests, lakes, and streams. The gases that cause acid rain also form fine sulfate and nitrate particles that increase the risk of heart and lung disorders, including asthma and bronchitis.
  • Argument #5. Cleaner Air • 109ozone levels in the lower atmosphere. According to Vaclav Smil, a global-ecosystems expert at the University of Manitoba, ozone “impairs lung func-tion, injures cells, limits the capacity for work and exercise, and lowers theresistance to bacterial infections.”33 NOx also can form nitric acid or increaseairborne particulate matter, contributing to both smog and acid rain. Oncedeposited onto land, NOx increases the acidity of soil and decreases bio-diversity, including of plant life.34 Deposited in water, NOx increases theacidity and promotes eutrophication.Hydrogen SulfideHydrogen sulfide, another invisible gas released by intensive animal agri-culture, is the gas with the distinctive “rotten egg” smell. It is producedby anaerobic bacteria in animal manure stored under moist conditions.Liquefying the waste—as is often done on factory farms—exacerbates theproblem.35 Nationally, the amount of hydrogen sulfide generated from livestockmanure is small, but at the local level, the gas can be a serious problem.Even a concentration as low as 2 ppm can cause headaches. Slightly higherlevels can cause respiratory, cardiovascular, and metabolic problems. Whenswine waste is agitated—which occurs when storage tanks are drained—hydrogen sulfide concentrations near the tanks can reach 200 to 1,500 ppmand seriously harm human health.36As with methane, hydrogen sulfide Toxicity of Hydrogen Sulfide37vapors have killed farmworkers in  2 ppm: headachesand around manure storage tanks.  2–10 ppm: respiratory, cardiovascular,The National Institute for Occupa- and metabolic problemstional Safety and Health recom-  50–100 ppm: vomiting and diarrheamends that exposure levels be keptbelow 10 ppm and that individuals  200 ppm: immunological problemsevacuate if levels exceed 50 ppm.  500 ppm: loss of consciousness An Ohio man suffered memory  600 ppm: often fatallosses, poor balance, a stutter, andother symptoms that his doctor blamed on a large hog farm half a milefrom his house.38 The doctor pinpointed high levels of hydrogen sulfide asthe culprit, but other gases also could have been involved. “If I could sell thehouse, I would move in a second, but I don’t know where to go,” the mantold the New York Times. Hydrogen sulfide also harms animals. Factory farms commonly useslatted concrete floors to drain manure into storage tanks directly below theanimals. That practice is most common on hog farms, but is also sometimes
  • 110 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietused with cattle. Spending their lives above a pit full of liquefied manurecontinuously exposes the animals to hydrogen sulfide and other harmfulgases. Hogs exposed continuously to just 20 ppm of hydrogen sulfide becomeanxious and afraid of light.39 Animals have died when they breathed thehigher levels of hydrogen sulfide that occur when waste is agitated.40Volatile Organic CompoundsA broad array of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) form and then pollutethe air when manure breaks down. Those chemicals have a carbon back-bone, which is coupled with hydrogen, oxygen, fluorine, chlorine, bromine,sulfur, or nitrogen. VOCs from factory farms include organic sulfides, alde-hydes, amines, and fatty acids.41 VOCs may irritate the skin, eyes, nose, and throat. They can be trans-ported by nerve cells directly to the brain, thus affecting the central nervoussystem. VOCs absorbed by the lungs, digestive tract, and skin can affectmetabolic and physiological processes. If inhaled, VOCs can increase therisk of respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, and might weaken theoverall immune system.42 In addition, they contribute to the formation ofsmog and exacerbate the greenhouse effect. Regulatory agencies have notyet set exposure limits.43OdorOdor is the most readily perceived environmental problem caused by large-scale animal farming. Although odor is downplayed by some economistsas only a minor nuisance that might reduce neighbors’ property values,44 itmay have serious health consequences that we are only now beginning tounderstand. Livestock operations generate a cafeteria of odoriferous chemicals,including ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and VOCs. One study found 331distinct odor-causing compounds in hog manure.45 Odors from factory farms irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. Theyalso cause headaches, drowsiness, allergic reactions, breathing difficul-ties, and higher incidences of diarrhea. In one study, stench—euphemis-tically termed “malodor”—was associated with an immunosuppressiveeffect that increases the risk of disease and infection in both humans andanimals.46 Besides causing physical problems, odors have a profound effect onmood and performance. One study found that “persons living near … in-tensive swine operations who experienced the odors had significantly moretension, more depression, more anger, less vigor, more fatigue, and moreconfusion” than people living farther away.47
  • Argument #5. Cleaner Air • 111Football field-sized mountains of cattle manure stink up the neighborhood and endanger nearby streams.Particulate MatterIntensive animal agriculture generates immense amounts of “particulatematter” that comes primarily from animal hair, dried manure, and dan-der (small flakes of skin, feathers, or hair). The fine dust is easily scatteredby wind and animal movement. The problems it causes are most severearound cattle feedlots because the ground—unlike pasture—is bare andexposed to the wind. The health effects of particulate matter depend, in part, on its size.Particulate matter typically is divided into two categories: PM2.5, whichincludes all particles smaller than 2.5 microns; and PM10, which includeseverything smaller than 10 microns. Both categories cause environmentaland health problems, but PM2.5 is a greater threat because the particles’small size allows them to penetrate even the tiniest airways in the lungsand cause respiratory illness and infection.48 Moreover, the dander in par-ticulate matter causes some people to develop asthma or allergies to cattle,hogs, or sheep. Particulate matter produced on farms may carry viruses, bacteria, andfungi, as well as traces of the antibiotics added to animal feed. One study ofthe air in a large pig-feeding operation found bacteria, some of which wereresistant to several antibiotics typically given to hogs.49 Whether one couldbecome infected upon breathing the air depends on the concentration of thebacteria. In addition, the antibiotics themselves have been discovered in theair and could conceivably cause allergic reactions.50 On the environmental front, the particulate matter sent airborne fromfeedlots and farms can react with ozone, generating the low-hanging clouds A micron is one-thousandth of a millimeter.
  • 112 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Pesticides in the Air Farmers intend for their pesticides to do their handiwork on crops or soil, but when the chemicals are sprayed, some amount inevitably drifts away with air cur- rents. Also, pesticides may volatilize (evaporate) from the field. Through those two processes, as much as 40 to 60 percent of the pesticides applied to crops may reach the Earth’s atmosphere.51 The pesticides eventually come back to Earth—primarily in rain- fall—far from where they were applied. Traces of atrazine—the second-most widely used her- bicide on feed grains—occurred in 30 percent of the rainfall samples tested in Midwestern and Northeastern states. Meto- lachlor—the fourth-most com- monly used herbicide on feed grains—was found in 13 percent of the samples.52 About 250,000 pounds of atra- zine were deposited by rain into the Mississippi and Ohio River Basins in 1991 alone. Whether the small amounts of pesticides that are blown far from farmers’ fields pose any subtle health risks to people or wildlife is not known.of pollution that once were associated only with urban and industrial areas.53As one startling example, California’s San Joaquin Valley, home to one-fifthof America’s dairy cows, now competes with Los Angeles and Houston forhaving the most polluted air in the country. A Sierra Club spokespersontold the Washington Post, “It’s not just a stink that’s coming out of thesefarms. It’s a real health threat.”54 What It All MeansFactory farms produce toxic gases, noxious odors, and particulate matterthat make life on the farms and downwind miserable—and unhealthy. Thedamage from the pollution generated by these operations extends even upto the Earth’s atmosphere. Those ills and the welcome trend toward sus-tainable agriculture notwithstanding, we will never totally return to theless-intensive, less-destructive, but also less-efficient, agricultural practicesof yesteryear. While industry and government fight over more protectiveregulations, one simple step each of us could take is to eat fewer animalproducts, especially from factory-raised animals. That would reduce thenumber of livestock and the amount of air pollution they generate.
  • Argument #6.Less Animal Suffering “Our inhumane treatment of livestock is becoming widespread and more and more barbaric.…  Texas beef company, with 22 ci- A tations for cruelty to animals, was found chop- ping the hooves off live cattle.… Secret videos from an Iowa pork plant show hogs squealing and kicking as they are being lowered into the boiling water that will soften … the bristles on the hogs and make them easier to skin.… Barbaric treatment of helpless, defenseless creatures must not be tolerated even if these animals are being raised for food.… Such insensitivity is insidious and can spread and is danger- ous. Life must be respected and dealt with humanely in a civilized society.” —U.S. Senator Robert Byrd1M any animals die to please our palette. About 140 million cattle, pigs, and sheep are slaughtered annually in the United States— about half an animal for every man, woman, and child (seetable 1). Add to that 9 billion chickens and turkeys—30 birds for every 2American—plus millions of fish, shellfish, and other sea creatures.3 113
  • 114 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet The American Meat Institute  Industrially farmed chickens arecontends that “Animal handling in raised in enormous and crowdedmeat plants has never been better.”4 sheds, may never see the outdoors,That might well be true, but “never and exhibit abnormal behavior. Layerbeen better” falls far short of “good.” hens live in tiny cages, are debeaked, There’s no easy way to know and are periodically starved to maxi-what constitutes happiness or con- mize egg production.tentment or pain for a pig, a cow, or a  The unnatural high-grain diets ofchicken. We can anthropomorphize 5 cattle in feedlots sometimes cause liver, hoof, and digestive diseases.livestock, imagining how it wouldfeel to undergo some of the same  Pregnant and nursing pigs spend mostexperiences: having our teeth pulled of their time in pens so small they cannot even turn around in them.or being castrated without anesthe-sia, for example. And in many cases,  U.S. farm animals are not legally pro- tected as are laboratory animals.the pain an animal is experiencingis perfectly obvious. However, thatapproach is considered by some to be too subjective to establish the effectsof such practices on animals. New tests are being developed that use thebehavioral and biochemical markers of stress to evaluate farm animalwelfare. Because the European, but not the American, legal system treatslivestock as sentient, conscious creatures, the majority of that research istaking place abroad. Food animals are not protected by federal animal welfare laws.6 Infact, farm animals are specifically exempted from the laws that protect rats, mice, and other laboratory animals. Table 1. Food animals slaughtered While more than 30 states have live- in the United States, 20037 stock anti-cruelty laws, they typically Animal Number exempt “common” or “customary” Sheep 2,900,000 practices. Therefore, painful proce- Ducks 26,000,000 dures—such as when animals’ beaks, horns, tails, or testes are chopped Cattle/calves 33,800,000 off—are legal because most farmers Hogs 104,000,000 use them. As Matthew Scully argues Turkeys 254,000,000 in his book Dominion: The Power of Chickens 8,900,000,000 Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Total 9,320,000,000 Call to Mercy, “When the law sets bil- lions of creatures apart from the basicstandards elsewhere governing the treatment of animals, when the lawdenies in effect that they are animals at all, that is not neutrality. That isfalsehood, and license for cruelty.”8
  • Argument #6. Less Animal Suffering • 115 “Bycatch”: Bye Animals In addition to the land and sea animals intentionally raised or caught for food, millions more die unintentionally as farmers and fishers seek to satisfy our appe- tites:  Billions of pounds of commercially useless fish, turtles, and other sea animals are unintentionally caught as “bycatch” and discarded, already dead or dying.  Wildlife is poisoned by the pesticides applied to crops.  Farm animals die of injuries or illnesses before they reach the slaughterhouse.  The egg industry literally shreds millions of male chicks at birth. In such a lax regulatory environment, agricultural practices that manypeople consider brutal have become the norm. From birth to death, manyanimals never see the outdoors. They are caged or otherwise housed incramped conditions where they sit in their own excrement. That sort ofhusbandry produces unnatural repetitive behaviors called “stereotypies”that may result in injury to the animals themselves or to nearby animals.Most cattle are fed grain-based diets that may cause ulcers in their stomachsand suffocating gases. Near the end of their short and often miserable lives,livestock are crammed into crowded trucks lacking food and water andtransported to slaughterhouses where they sometimes suffer painful deaths. It is worth recognizing that many seemingly inappropriate or down-right inhumane practices have some practical benefits to the animals orthe farmers or they wouldn’t be done. For instance, indoor confinement ofchickens, turkeys, and pigs, while unnatural and sometimes unhealthy,protects the animals from predators, deadly germs such as the avian influ-enza virus, and harsh weather. The questions are whether those benefitsare so great that they outweigh the harm done to the animals and whetheralternative methods could reduce animal suffering. Farm Animals’ Unnatural LivesSeparated Early from Their MothersThe dairy industry obviously has little use for males, so they typically aretransferred into veal or beef production systems. Calves are often separatedfrom their mothers within one day of their birth—before they can walkand before they have received from their mothers’ milk essential proteinsfor growth and immunity to germs.9 The day of separation is traumatic forboth mother and offspring, with each bawling for the other.
  • 116 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Early removalfrom their mothersand subsequent iso-lation reduce calves’ability to developnormal social behav-iors and contribute tothe development ofabnormal behaviors.Because they are fedfrom a bucket ratherthan nursing at teats,weaned calves miss the opportunity to satisfy an instinctive desire forsuckling.10 That thwarted desire leads calves to lick themselves and otheranimals obsessively, which results in rumen hairballs. Those hairballs canweigh as much as 8 pounds and occasionally harm the animals.11 Calvesalso may try to nurse on each other or induce urination by licking each oth-ers’ genitalia and then drinking the urine.12Stamped as PropertyBeef cattle—especially out West—are often “branded” with a logo indicat-ing their ownership. Branding has been used by ranchers for generationsand has deep cultural resonance, if limited utility. Depending on its ageat the time of branding, the animal is either pinned on the ground or con-strained in a chute. The brand is then impressed into its hide using a blaz-ing hot iron, which creates a third-degree burn; that painful process may berepeated when animals are sold to different owners.13 Many more humanealternatives for animal identification exist, such as ear tags or retinal imag-ing, which should consign this outmoded practice to the history books.Furthermore, the threat of mad cow disease highlights the importance ofinstituting a national system for livestock tracking. Branding is practicallyuseless for that purpose because of its limited information content.Inconvenient Parts RemovedCastrationNearly all bulls are castrated, which involves removing their testicles. Themost common methods are slitting the scrotum and removing the testi-cles, blocking the circulation of blood to the scrotal sack with a tight rubberband, breaking the spermatic cord with pliers, or injecting the testicles withan acid or other chemical.14 All are performed without painkillers.
  • Argument #6. Less Animal Suffering • 117 Most calves are castrated when they are less than a month old. Someargue that young animals feel less pain, but Bernard Rollin, a prominentanimal welfare expert at Colorado State University, says there are “no goodgrounds for believing that pain experience is tied to age. It is well-knownthat cattle are born precocious, and it would be biologically and evolution-arily incredible that all faculties are formed at birth except pain capacity.” Infact, inflicting pain on young animals may lead to chronic pain later in life.15 Castration does offer several benefits. It makes steers more docile, whichkeeps them from injuring one another in crowded feedlots. It also improvesmeat tenderness, primarily by increasing the fat content. However, castra-tion is not a unique way to obtain those benefits. Giving cattle more spacedecreases aggression, too.16 And tenderness is not an issue with meat fromyounger bulls and can be improved by aging meat from older bulls. Cattle that are not castrated have their own virtues. They are more effi-cient at converting feed to weight gain and therefore reach market weightfaster.17 That means they consume less grain, saving money and naturalresources. Cattle ranchers compensate for the slower growth of steers byimplanting hormone pellets in their ears to replace those naturally pro-duced by the testicles (see “Sex Hormones on Ranches,” p. 131). Ultimately, it is economics that spurs ranchers to castrate their bull calves.Packers pay less for bulls than for steers, ostensibly because consumers preferthe fattier steer meat. Yet some “boutique” beef producers specialize in bullmeat because of a niche demand for its lower fat content. Meatpacking compa-nies, which largely areresponsible for deter-mining what priceproducers will receive,can identify bull andsteer carcasses becauseU.S. Department ofAgriculture (USDA)inspectors—despitethe absence of anyregulatory require-ments—prominentlystamp carcasses from Branding with a hot iron can be replaced with less painful practices.uncastrated males as “bullock.”18 The bullock stamp essentially punishesranchers who avoid causing pain to their animals and deliver a leaner,healthier product to consumers. Bulls are uncastrated cattle; steers are castrated.
  • 118 • Six Arguments for a Greener DietDehorningThe major breeds of dairy cattle grow horns, as do some beef cattle breeds.Horned cattle are still raised because other breeding priorities—rapidweight gain or robust milk production, for example—have trumped thedesire to breed the horns out of the cattle.19 To prevent crowded, stressedanimals from injuring each other or their handlers, dairy cattle aredehorned at an early age.20 The nascent horn is gouged out, cut off, orburned with either a hot iron or chemicals. Although horns are commonlythought of as woody protuberances devoid of sensation, they are actuallymore similar to teeth—their hard shell covers a rich vascular and nervousnetwork. Dehorning can be extremely painful and may cause extensivebleeding. As with castration, calves typically are not given painkillerswhen they are dehorned.Tail DockingRemoving the tails of dairy cattle—another terribly painful procedure—has become increasingly common. Cows’ tails often become coated withdirt and excrement, so when they swish their tails to chase off flies, theyfling about whatever filth has accumulated on them. Some dairy produc-ers believe that tail swishing increases the risk of mastitis, a painful bac-terial infection of the udder, because manure could land on a cow’s udder.Another argument for tail docking is that tails may be trampled on by otheranimals, causing lesions and infections. Professor Rollin argues that there is “absolutely no scientific basis forclaims about the benefits of tail-docking.   Removing the tail is another …example of attempting to handle a problem of human management bymutilating the animal.”21 Instead of docking tails to prevent mastitis, farm-ers should clean up dirty stalls. The trampling problem could be avoidedby giving the cows more space.22 All in all, we suspect that American cowswould much prefer to live in Sweden, where tail docking is forbidden, localanesthesia or a sedative must be used for dehorning, and cows must be kepton pasture for at least two to four months out of the year.23 Cows  Farmers Lost in the industrial dairy system is the bond between cows and the farmers who care for them. Research has demonstrated that dairy farmers who relate well to their animals get higher yields.24 Industrial agriculture, however, increases the number of animals per handler, which reduces the interaction between animals and farmers.
  • Argument #6. Less Animal Suffering • 119Debeaking, Detoeing, and MacerationBecause of the economic losses associated with feather pecking, egg farm-ers routinely trim off the tips of birds’ beaks. Debeaking (see photo) causes both acute and chronic pain, including pain dur- ing eating.25 To prevent sometimes serious injury during fights, poultry are often detoed.26 Treatment of male chicks is even more gro- tesque. Because the egg industry has no use for those birds, they are sum- marily killed. The currentmethod of choice is to dispose of the birds in what is effectively a modi-fied wood chipper. Industry parlance describes this as “instant macerationusing a specially designed high-speed grinder.” Other methods of disposal,considered less humane, include suffocation and crushing.27Confinement in Tight, Unhealthy QuartersCattleDairy farmers increasingly keep their cows indoors, confined in accor-dance with industry recommendations of about 20 to 25 square feet per1,000 pounds of animal.28 To put that space into perspective, the tiniest caron U.S. roads—the Mini Cooper—occupies about 75 square feet. Its “foot-print” would accommodate three adult cows with some room to spare.29Beef cattle are simi-larly confined dur-ing the last severalmonths of their lives,albeit in outdoorfeedlots. Those usu-ally give the animalsmore space than theirmilked counterparts,but the cattle are lim-ited to only a grass-less field of manure Dairy cows, once pasture-raised on small farms, increasingly areinstead of pasture. being raised in confinement on mega-farms.
  • 120 • Six Arguments for a Greener DietPigsPigs generally are considered to be the most intelligent of the major live-stock species, which makes their suffering especially inhumane.30 Unlikebeef cattle, which typically are raised on pasture for most of their lives, pigsmay spend their entire existence in an individual pen or in a limited spacewith a small number of other pigs. Gestation crates are used for pregnantsows and farrowing crates for sows that have just given birth. The main dif-ference is that farrowing crates have a side area where the newborn pigletscan fit. Those pens usually are only about seven feet by two feet. Accordingto Alberta Pork, a pork producers’ association in Canada, “The crate (some-times called a stall) is a simple pen made of metal that contains the sow in theleast possible space that is economically feasible.  Sows housed in a crate … cannot turn around, but they can stand up and lie down and take one step forward or backward.”31 Confined sows suffer health prob- lems not commonly seen in pigs raised outdoors. They have more foot and leg injuries—including fractures—probablyPregnant pigs are typically held in cramped gestation crates. as a result of livingin pens with slatted floors. They also have more urinary tract infections, 32perhaps because the floors on which they lie are dirtied with their ownwaste. Furthermore, gestation crates increase the likelihood that sows willendure particularly long or painful births; fail to secrete milk; and sufferfrom “wasting disease,” which causes them to gradually lose weight, havea variety of organ problems, and often die. (The bacterial or other cause ofwasting disease has not yet been identified.) Farrowing crates in which sows could give birth to and nurse their pig-lets were introduced because the sows had a habit of lying on their pigletsand crushing them to death. That failure of the maternal instinct is itselfpartly the result of poor breeding practices. Pigs have been selected for leanmeat and rapid growth; somewhere in their breeding history, they lost theability to protect their young properly. Farrowing crates do help protectpiglets, so industrial farm operators argue that tight confinement is a wel-
  • Argument #6. Less Animal Suffering • 121fare measure. But old-fashioned pigs raised the old-fashioned way normallydidn’t crush their offspring. Treating pigs humanely does not necessarily sacrifice productivity.Sweden banned gestation crates in 1994, and the United Kingdom bannedthem five years later. (Both the European Union and New Zealand are inthe process of phasing them out.) In Sweden, pork production actually roseafter the ban. In Great Britain, pork production fell, but that was due to anongoing outbreak of post-weaning multisystemic wasting syndrome—anillness that kills young pigs but is not related to the use or absence of gesta-tion crates.33 Factory-farmed pigs also must contend with the potentially fatal gasesreleased by their manure. In many operations, manure falls through slatsin the floor into a pool directly below the pens. Dangerous gases rise upfrom that manure. Among them is hydrogen sulfide, which, according toJames Barker—a North Carolina State University expert on animal manurenutrients—can produce “fear of light, loss of appetite, [and] nervousness”in pigs.34 In high concentrations, those fumes can be fatal. Other manuregases, such as ammonia, increase hogs’ risk of pneumonia, other respira-tory diseases, and convulsions.ChickensLayer hens—chick-ens raised to produceeggs—are housed instacked rows of tiny“battery cages,” typ-ically with five toseven birds per cage.According to an ani-mal welfare organiza-tion, a single farm mayhouse up to 800,000birds at a time.35 Foradult Leghorn chick-ens, the most widely used breed in the world, academic researchers recom-mend that each bird be allotted half a square foot.36 In 2005, the United EggProducers—a major industry group—increased its recommended allotmentfrom 0.33 square feet per bird to between 0.47 and 0.60 square feet, depend-ing on the size of the hen.37 That recommendation will be phased in over fiveyears. (The European Union requires 0.5 to 0.6 square feet, and will increase
  • 122 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Concentrated Disasters The confinement of tens of thousands of chickens and thousands of pigs in small areas is a prescription for mass disaster. When Hurricane Katrina devastated Loui- siana, Mississippi, and Alabama in 2005, it was not just people who were affected: Millions of chickens were killed due to power outages and lack of water.38 The same thing happened in North Carolina in 1999, when the winds and rain of Hur- ricane Floyd killed more than 2 million chickens and turkeys and hundreds of thou- sands of hogs.39that requirement to 0.8 square feet by 2012.40) Note that an 8½-by-11-inchsheet of paper is 0.65 square feet—about 30 percent larger than the space ahen in the United States is now provided. Although hens that are less crowded are more productive individually,the poultry industry gets a higher overall yield of eggs by cramming morehens into fewer cages. Rollin, at Colorado State University, notes: “It is none-theless more economically efficient to put a greater number of birds intoeach cage.   Though each hen is less productive when crowded, the opera- …tion as a whole makes more money with a high stocking density: Chickensare cheap, cages are expensive.”41 Rollin is also concerned about the wire floors of battery cages, whichmay injure hens’ feet and legs.42 A chicken may catch its head, neck, orwings in the wire sides of the cage, which could lead to serious injury.Another problem is that the tight confinement does not permit exercise,such as normal wing-flapping and (brief) flying. The absence of exerciseincreases the incidence of lameness, brittle bones (osteoporosis), and mus-cle weakness. At slaughter, 6.5 percent of caged hens have broken wingscompared to just 0.5 percent of free-range hens. Dust-bathing—anotherregular activity of chickens and a natural protection against parasites— also is impossible in the cramped cages. In contrast to practices in America, Switzerland banned the use of barren cages that lack mate- rials for nesting, and the European Union is in the process of banning them as well.43
  • Argument #6. Less Animal Suffering • 123 Broiler chickens, in contrast to layer hens, are raised on sawdust floorsin sheds as big as football fields. They are kept together for their entire,albeit brief, six-week lives in groups of 10,000, 20,000, and sometimes even50,000. Obviously, it is impossible for farmers to monitor the health of indi-vidual animals in such a setting. When disease outbreaks occur, they canrace through entire flocks and cause widespread death, or, in the case ofExotic Newcastle disease or avian influenza (bird flu), require the slaughterof the entire flock.44 The floor covering in a broiler house is not changed during the courseof a single flock’s life—or even several flocks’ lives. Feathers, feces, and feedall become mixed with sawdust. The high acidity of chicken dung that col-lects on floors can cause burns on chickens’ feet and legs.45Pushed to ProduceDairy CattleAs the rate of milk production has risen—it is now six times as high as100 years ago46—dairy cows increasingly have suffered health problems.One major problem is mastitis, which is treated with antibiotics.47 To maxi-mize milk production, cows on tightly managed farms are impregnated assoon as two months after giving birth. That keeps them producing milk asthough they were nursing, even though their calves usually are removedshortly after birth. Modern cows can sustain their extraordinary productiv-ity for only about five or six years, at which time they are sold for beef. Awell-cared-for cow normally could live into her 20s.48 The dairy industry is the source of at least 75 percent of the cattle thatarrive at slaughterhouses unable to walk or stand.49 Dairy farms produce somany “downers” because cows are slaughtered when their milk productionfalls, and decreased production usually occurs when the cows are eithersick or old. Also, intensive milk production can deplete the calcium contentof bones, increasing the risk that a cow will break a leg or pelvis. Downer Growth Hormone: More Milk, Harm to Cows Dairy farmers, ever eager to increase milk production, have turned for help to Monsanto’s synthetic bovine growth hormone, Prosilac (also called recombinant bovine somatotropin, rBST). The hormone increases milk production by about 10 percent. However, it also increases the incidence of udder infections (mastitis) by about 25 percent, which may increase the need for antibiotics. A meta-analysis found that Prosilac also increases lameness by 50 percent, reduces fertility, and probably decreases cows’ life spans.50
  • 124 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietanimals are frequently dragged into the slaughterhouse or lifted by a legand hauled in.ChickensToday’s hens producean average of about275 eggs per year,four times the 1933average of 70. One ofthe key tools for max-imizing production isthe practice of forcedmolting. Under natu-ral conditions, birdsmolt annually, shed-ding and then replacing their feathers. During the process, egg laying slowsto a halt, but the hen’s reproductive tract regenerates, extending her produc-tive life. Natural annual molting is not efficient enough for farmers, so theyinduce molting by subjecting their chickens to stressors by restricting food(for up to 12 days), water (for up to 3), and sometimes light as well.51 Accord-ing to United Egg Producers’ standards, birds subjected to such a regimenshould lose no more than 30 percent of their weight and less than 1 per-cent should die.52 The egg industry defends forced molting, stating that itincreases hens’ productive lives from 75 weeks to at least 110 weeks anddecreases the number of new hens needed by 40 to 50 percent.Development of Neurotic BehaviorsCattleCattle on ranges walk several miles each day and spend 8 to 10 hours graz-ing. Confined cattle clearly cannot do this, and even lying down and stand-ing up may be difficult in stalls. One response to this unnatural environ-ment is that an animal will rub its head repeatedly against a stationaryobject, such as the bars of its cage, for extended periods. It might also bitethe cage bars, grating its teeth back and forth on the metal. Cattle deprivedof the ability to move freely sometimes roll their eyes back into their headsuntil only the whites are exposed.53 Additionally, the combination of implanted growth hormones, crowd-ing, and the introduction of new cattle contributes to “buller syndrome”whereby one steer is ridden repeatedly by others in the group. That behavior
  • Argument #6. Less Animal Suffering • 125is common in feedlots and may result in serious injuries, including brokenlegs or cracked spines.54 Other neurotic behaviors of cattle include stampeding, rejection oftheir young, and failure to produce milk.55 While sometimes violent, thestereotyped behaviors of cattle are less often fatal than are those of pigs andchickens, as discussed below.56PigsPregnant sows confinedin crates exhibit numerousabnormal behaviors.57 Theycommonly chew while theirmouths are empty, bite the barsof their cage, and constantlypress the drinking nipple.Feed restrictions and boredomexacerbate those behaviors.Sows in gestation crates maysit on their haunches likedogs—an atypical position for pigs, but one that they adopt because of thechallenges of lying down and standing up in such limited spaces. While pregnant, farrowing, and nursing sows are housed in tiny cages,most other pigs are kept in mid-sized group pens. The size of the pens andthe number of animals in them varies from one operation to another, butwhen too many pigs are kept in a pen, they fare poorly. In a study of pigssubjected to a variety of stressors, being crowded with many other animalscaused more stress than any other factor.58 Pigs housed tightly togetheroften bite each others’ tails.59 Once tail-biting begins, the behavior spreadsrapidly through a herd. In some cases, the tail may be bitten down to the spi-nal cord, and some victims bleed to death or contract serious infections.60 Feral Pigs Versus Domesticated Pigs The behaviors of domesticated pigs that are released into the wild contrast sharply with those of pigs raised in crowded indoor quarters. Feral pigs build small nests for group sleeping. They urinate and defecate at least 20 feet from their nests.61 When wild sows become pregnant, they isolate themselves from the rest of their group and build a private nest in which to give birth. That behavior is impossible on factory farms, where pigs are trapped together and lack the materials for building nests. Also, feral pigs are highly social animals that typically live in family groups led by a dominant female.
  • 126 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Many of the abnormal behaviors of confined pigs—including tail bit-ing—may be reduced simply by providing them with straw, sawdust, orother fibrous material.62 Straw keeps floors drier and helps piglets staywarm. It also keeps animals from slipping, thereby reducing leg damage.Finally, it helps alleviate the tedium by allowing them to build nests andengage in other natural forms of behavior.ChickensCaged laying hens pace about to the extent they can and shake their headsin a neurotic manner. Those behaviors reflect the birds’ perception of dan-ger and their inability to escape. Under natural conditions, chickens instinc-tively search and investigate, pecking and scratching in the dirt for foodmost of the day. Denied anything to explore, caged hens exhibit polydip-sia—the excessive manipulation of water dispensers and overconsumptionof water.63 Chickens also resort to pecking their cage mates, leaving bare andbleeding patches on them and disrupting their ability to regulate their bodytemperature. In the worst cases, feather pecking results in death. Whilefree-range chickens may peck one another, victims can escape, so injuriesusually are less severe and fatalities less common.64 Confined layer hens obviously cannot engage in their natural nestingbehavior because they do not have access to straw and other materials.Poultry will work hard to obtain nesting material and will go without foodand water rather than without a nest.65 Unable to perform that instinctive Feral Chickens Versus Domesticated Chickens Wild chickens serve as a useful indicator of how domesticated chickens might behave if industrial agriculture did not restrict their behaviors. Colorado State University professor Bernard Rollin has noted that feral hens forage over more than 100,000 square feet, while roosters cover five times as much ground.66 That is in stark contrast to the 0.5 square feet available to caged layer hens. In the wild, the animals roost in groups of 6 to 30, with roosts positioned about 200 feet apart. Feral hens demonstrate strong maternal behavior. For example, hens with chicks threaten other hens that come within 20 feet. Mothers do not start to leave their chicks until they are five to six weeks old. Farmed chicks, in contrast, are never mothered. Farmed chickens still retain their ancestral instincts, judging from a study of chick- ens released into the wild. Amazingly, those highly inbred birds immediately began foraging for food, roosting in trees, building nests, and raising their young.67
  • Argument #6. Less Animal Suffering • 127behavior, chickens may “display agitated pacing and escape behaviors thatlast for two to four hours” before laying eggs. For their part, broiler chickens, trapped in huge crowded houses, mayexhibit “hysteria,” a neurotic behavior marked by panicked vocalizing andwild flying.68 That can lead to serious injuries. Chickens also develop what is called deep pectoral myopathy.69 Thepectoral muscle normally is used to elevate wings, but in modern chickensit is rarely used. When the birds become excited—particularly when theyare being chased and caught before transport—they suddenly and heavilyexert that muscle. It expands within its thick, inelastic covering, cutting offits own blood flow. The muscle becomes dry and green and begins to die. Some 60 million broiler chickens are raised each year strictly for thepurpose of producing the next generation of broiler chickens.70 Those hens’genetic makeup not only leads to fast growth, but also to heart diseaseand lameness. To avoid those problems and to increase fertility, producersunderfeed their hens. Those birds are fed as little as half to a quarter of theamount of food they would otherwise eat. As a result, they are chronicallymalnourished and suffer psychological stress.71 Super Chickens Broilers—chickens grown for meat—face unique challenges. Broilers once took 13 weeks to reach market weight, during which time they ate 3 pounds of feed for every pound of body weight gained. Losses primarily were due to infectious dis- eases, and mortality was as high as 30 percent. Now, modern breeding and feed- ing practices bring broilers to market weight in five to six weeks—and they need to eat only 1.8  pounds of feed to gain 1 pound of body weight. Mortality is only about 4 percent.72 Those figures represent real progress, but the progress brings new problems. Most deaths in broiler chickens now result not from infections or predators but from cannibalism in crowded chicken houses.73 Also, skeletal growth cannot keep up with the extraordinary enlargement of muscle and body mass, so birds fre- quently suffer broken bones.74 Chickens may die from obesity-related disorders, such as liver and kidney failure, or cardiovascular disorders. What Farm Animals ConsumeAnimals raised on factory farms are used as living garbage disposals. Inaddition to grains and roughage, they may be fed newspaper, out-of-datebaked goods, candy, industrial sludge, manure, and sewage, among otherwaste products.75 Those “foods” may be contaminated with pesticides,
  • 128 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Vanishing Veal 7 Veal production is a small and shrinking segment of the U.S. cat- tle industry, thanks in large part to outcries from animal welfare 6 advocates. Farmers produce only half a pound of veal per person per year, one-tenth as much as in the 1950s.76 Most of the veal Pounds produced per person 5 served at restaurants is white veal, coming from calves whose diet is restricted only to milk. Such a diet leads to anemia. The 4 paucity of healthy red blood cells gives the meat its char- 3 acteristic pale color. Because their diet prevents the devel- opment of a natural mix of bacteria, calves tend to 2 have diarrhea and other digestive disorders.77 To add insult to injury, veal calves (usually males) 1 are confined in pens so small that they cannot turn around or 0 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2003 lie down in a natural position.heavy metals, and such carcinogens as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs),polybrominated biphenyls, dioxins, and furans, all of which are industrialby-products that pollute the environment.78 In 2000, for instance, tests by theU.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that 44 percent of samplesof animal feed contained pesticide residues, with 2 percent exceeding thelegal limits.79 Some of the toxins livestock consume are fat soluble and build up in theirbody fat. The fattiest beef and dairy products (and, to a lesser extent, poultryand pork) deliver the highest concentrations of the toxins. Those chemicalsalso threaten the health of the animals, particularly just before and after birth,because during pregnancy and lactation a large portion of fat is mobilized inthe mother’s body. If the fat in the mother’s milk contains toxins, newbornscan experience significant exposures that may affect their health.80You Call This Food?Cattle, sheep, goats, and other ruminant animals evolved to eat and obtainenergy from cellulose-rich grasses. That ability allows them to make use ofplant matter that other animals cannot digest. However, cattle grow moreslowly when they eat grasses than when they eat high-energy corn andother grains. So, to fatten their cattle as quickly as possible, ranchers typi-cally ship them to feedlots for the final three to five months of their lives.There they are fed an unnatural diet that contains as much as 90 percentgrain.
  • Argument #6. Less Animal Suffering • 129 High-grain diets cause the gastrointestinal system to be more acidic.Normally, the rumen (the part of the stomach in a cow, sheep, or goat thatdigests grass and other food) is slightly acidic, with a pH near 6. On a high-grain diet, the pH may fall to 5 or even 4. A decrease of 1 pH unit means thatthe rumen is 10 times more acidic, and a decrease of 2 pH units means therumen is 100 times more acidic.81 The higher acidity alters the natural mix of bacteria in the cat- tle’s digestive system, selecting for bacteria that better tolerate acids. One such bac- terium is Escherichia coli O157:H7, the nasty foodborne pathogen that causes about 80 deaths annually in the United States (see appendix A, p. 172).82The digestive system of cattle is not designed to process large The altered bac-amounts of grain. The result: ulcers, bloat, liver abscesses, hoofinfections, growth of acid-tolerant E. coli O157:H7. terial environment can cause ulcers inthe rumen. Bacteria then may travel through the ulcers to the liver, wherethey frequently cause abscesses. To help prevent that, feedlot operators addantibiotics such as tylosin (an antibiotic similar to the erythromycin usedto treat infections in humans) to the animals’ feed. Without antibiotics, thelivers from about 75 percent of cattle would have to be discarded due toabscesses. Even with antibiotics, about 13 percent of livers are condemnedat slaughter.83 Bacteria that migrate through ulcers also can infect the hooves of cattleand cause lameness, which accounts for 16 percent of feedlot health prob-lems and 5 percent of deaths.84 Less commonly, a high-grain diet causesdehydration, shock, and kidney failure.85 An acidified rumen can trigger diarrhea, bloat (likened by one expertto “a massive stomach ache”), and grain overload, a potentially fatal con-dition.86 James Russell, a Cornell University and USDA microbiologist,estimates that about 3 of every 1,000 cattle in feedlots die of grain-relateddisorders.87 Grain-based diets must be introduced gradually to cattle. When cattleare fed too much grain too suddenly, their rumens may develop bloat,expanding to the point where they press up against the lungs. Without
  • 130 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietimmediate medical attention, bloat can cause death by suffocation.88 Thatis what happened in 2005 at a feedlot in Alberta, Canada. Because thecattle’s feed was incorrectly mixed and contained too much barley and bar-ley silage, it caused “acute carbohydrate ingestion” and killed 150 cattle.89 High-grain diets appear to cause abnormal behaviors. In pursuit ofroughage, cattle will chew on any available source, including woodenfences.90 The lack of roughage, coupled with confinement, also results inneurotic tongue rolling. That behavior simulates the motion of wrappingthe tongue around tufts of grass—except that the grass is imaginary.91 Graz-ing cattle curl their tongues around tufts of grass thousands of times perday, so it is not surprising that the absence of such a customary behaviorhas consequences. Tongue rolling is not observed among cattle on pastureor among wild bovines.Antibiotics, Antacids, and MoreIndustrial agriculture—with its dirty, overcrowded, high-production sys-tems—often increases the likelihood of certain illnesses and the need foranti­biotics. As mentioned earlier, intensive milk production causes masti-tis in the udders of dairy cows, which is treated with antibiotics. Hogs incramped pens may bite off one another’s tails, leaving exposed sores ripe forinfection. Crowding also speeds the spread of disease among animals. Andprocessing animal wastes (discussed below) into feed transmits pathogensto animals and increases the risk of infections and need for medication.92 Feedlot operators use antibiotics and antacids to prevent and treat thediseases caused by high-grain diets. The antibiotics are added to cattlefeed to kill the bacteria that cause liver abscesses and hoof infections (see“Factory Farming’s Antibiotic Crutch,” p. 68). Feedlot operators also addordinary baking soda, limestone, and other alkaline substances to feed toneutralize excessive acidity in the rumen.93 In fact, one-fourth of all bakingsoda produced in the United States is fed to livestock.94Pesticides and Other Chemical ToxinsPCBs and organochlorine pesticides are “endocrine disruptors,” whichmay strengthen or weaken the action of natural hormones in animalsand humans. Endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) may affect manyaspects of development, but especially sexual development. For example,they decrease sperm production in many animals, including humans. Incattle, EDCs can upset the maturation of oocytes (the cells that produce eggsin female mammals). During sensitive periods of development, EDCs caninduce physiological changes at concentrations less than one-hundredth ofthose that are toxic at other times.95
  • Argument #6. Less Animal Suffering • 131 Sex Hormones on RanchesRanchers routinely castrate their bulls to make them more docile and producefattier, more tender meat, but castration reduces the levels of growth-promot-ing hormones and the growth rate of steers. For 25 years the cattle industry hascompensated for that slower growth by implanting natural (estradiol, progester-one, testosterone) or synthetic (trenbolone acetate, zeranol) sex hormones intosteers’ ears (which are discarded after slaughter). Another hormone, melengestrolacetate, is added to feed. A dollar’s worth of hormones saves at least 10 dollars’worth of feed.96 Pigs and chickens are not allowed to be treated with hormones.The use of hormones is controversial, because the slightly increased amountsof hormones in beef could conceivably affect growth and development or causecancer in consumers. In 1989 the European Union banned hormone-treated beef,including imports from North America. (The ban hasn’t stopped many Europeanfarmers from injecting hormones illegally.) European officials contend that hor-mones—especially estradiol—might cause cancer or neurological, developmental,reproductive, or immunological effects.97In fact, there’s little evidence that hormones pose a risk.98 The World Health Orga-nization explains that hormone implants in treated cattle “contributed only a smalladditional amount of hormone to the intakes resulting from consumption of otherfoods.” Indeed, we ingest far more hormones from eggs, milk, and soybean oilthan from meat. The FDA and USDA note that hormone levels in meat from treatedcattle are within the normal range of untreated animals. Moreover, very little ofthe hormones in beef is absorbed by the body, and, in any case, even childrenproduce far more hormones than are present in meat. Finally, one marketer of both treated and untreated beef acknowledges that the hormone-free claim is a “marketing tool used to create a false fear.”99 While one can’t prove that any- thing is perfectly safe, hormone implants (especially the natural ones) do not appear to be worrisome. Separate from health concerns, toxicologists have discovered that hormones in the manure of feedlot cattle (and urban sewage treatment plants) can pol- lute nearby streams.100 The hormones, both naturally occurring and the extra amount from implants, are associated with smaller testes and fewer offspring inminnows and might also affect other wildlife. Edward Orlando, a reproductivephysiologist at Florida Atlantic University, worries that “we know almost nothingabout the environmental impact of hormones from agricultural sources.”101 Thesolution would be to reduce the concentration of cattle at feedlots and preventwater pollution from manure and urine.
  • 132 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Dioxin causes cancer in animals, as well as reproductive and develop-mental problems. In 2003, dioxin-contaminated waste from a brass factorywas inadvertently used in animal feed, causing numerous deaths.102 Thecontamination eventually was discovered, and the remaining meat andmilk from the animals that had eaten the feed were removed from the mar-ket. However, a good deal of dioxin must have passed from meat and dairyproducts to consumers before the problem was identified.Sludge, Manure, and FecesSewage sludge—everything pulled out of dirty water at waste-treatmentplants—and raw or composted manure are commonly fed to livestock bothdirectly and indirectly. For example, manure is commonly applied to crop-land because it contains nutrients that serve as fertilizer. But manure isalso rich in bacteria and chemical contaminants, including organic com-pounds and heavy metals. Livestock are exposed to those hazards whenthey graze on manure-treated fields and when they eat crops grown incontaminated soil. Since 1992, when Congress banned ocean dumpingof sewage sludge, municipalities’ most common method for disposing ofsewage waste has been to offer it to farmers as fertilizer.103 Excess nitrogenfrom the waste can pollute the water drunk by calves and lambs, caus-ing “blue baby syndrome,” which on rare occasions results in suffocationand death.104 That syndrome, which also occurs (albeit rarely) in humans,develops when young animals consume excess nitrate, which, when con-verted by bacteria in the gut to nitrite, prevents hemoglobin from carry-ing oxygen. Candid Camera at a Poultry Farm In 2004, workers at a West Virginia facility owned by Pilgrim’s Pride—the second- largest poultry producer in the United States—were caught on videotape stomp- ing on live chickens, throwing them against walls, and kicking them. Although not typical, that despicable behavior serves as a useful reminder that poultry are not protected by the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act for livestock, leaving them open to a variety of cruel practices.105 “Poultry litter”—a euphemism for the mixture of manure, feathers,wood chips, and spilled feed collected from the floors of poultry houses—iscommonly fed to other animals. In one extreme case, poultry litter contami-nated with high levels of copper, which is used to control everything fromalgae to snails, killed cattle and sheep.106
  • Argument #6. Less Animal Suffering • 133Animal PartsFeeding animal parts back to animals exacerbates the risks from all of thecontaminants to which they are exposed. Although a federal law forbidsfeeding cattle parts back to cattle, rendered farm animals remain a commoncomponent of livestock feed. Rendered poultry and hogs may be fed to cat-tle, and rendered cattle to poultry and hogs.107 Thus, livestock consume thesame concentrated toxins from the fat of slaughtered animals as meat anddairy eaters. That process may increase contamination of animal productsover time and keep banned or unused chemicals circulating in the foodsupply. Moreover, that cycle of feeding animals to animals may be a routefor transferring mad cow disease (for more on that topic, see appendix A,p. 174). How They’re TransportedWhile some animals may take only one trip during their lives—to the abat-toir—most cattle and pigs endure the stress of transport several times.According to the USDA, only 24 percent of sheep and 29 percent of pigsgrow up on the farm where they are born.108 In a single year, 22 millioncattle and 27 million hogs were shipped to another state to be fattened orbred. The trucks and railroad cars used to transport livestock from farm tofarm or to feedlots and slaughterhouses are even more cramped than thefactory farms themselves. On a truck, the space recommended by animalwelfare experts for a 1,000-pound cow is only 12.8 square feet—half of whattypically is provided in a feedlot.109 Using the Mini Cooper analogy again,six 1,000-pound cowsare packed into anarea that that petite caroccupies. Full-grown,1,400-pound cattle getonly 19 square feet. A400‑pound hog is allot-ted 6½ square feet in atruck. That’s half thesize of a gestation crate;almost 12 hogs could fitinto a Mini’s footprint. Chickens are “harvested” roughly by “catchers” who cram them into crates, which are then trucked to the slaughterhouse. Eighty percent of thecalves from Texas and Kansas are shipped an average of about 200 milesbefore they are killed.110 During transit, animals are generally deprived of
  • 134 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietfood and water. Under those conditions, chickens sometimes suffer heartfailure, pigs die from the cold, and sheep may be smothered.111 And theextreme temperatures—just think of traveling jam-packed in a slat-sidedtractor trailer on a Texas highway in the August heat—kill some animalsoutright.112 Shipping promotes the spread of disease among animals, especiallywhen animals from different herds and flocks exchange pathogens. That iscompounded by the stresses of extreme temperatures, an unfamiliar envi-ronment, and forced crowding, which can suppress the animals’ immunesystems.113 Movement is particularly difficult for cattle because, according toColorado State University’s Bernard Rollin, they “are creatures of habit,and disruption of habits can be highly stressful.   Introduction into a new …environment is more stressful for cattle than electric shock.”114 In cattle, themost common result of stress and exposure to germs is “shipping fever,”115also called bovine respiratory disease complex. That is a severe form ofpneumonia and the most common cause of death in factory-farmed cattle.Severe outbreaks, though rare, have killed up to 35 percent of a herd.116 Rough handling injures broiler chickens. When catching chickens fortheir journey to the slaughterhouse, workers typically carry up to seven ata time by one leg. That frequently results in broken bones and dislocatedwing and leg joints.117 How They’re SlaughteredAfter the miserable lives most farm animals lead before reaching theslaughterhouse, one would hope that their deaths would at least be quickand painless. Unfortunately, that sometimes is not the case. Animals mayendure inhumane conditions while waiting at the slaughterhouse, and, Candid Camera at a Cattle Slaughterhouse118 Ritual slaughter of animals to provide kosher meat involves cutting the animals’ necks without stunning them first. A kosher slaughterhouse operated in Pottsville, Iowa, by AgriProcessors, Inc., was caught on videotape apparently violating both kosher laws and the Humane Slaughter Act. The aggressive animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), secretly videotaped mistreat- ment. As the New York Times described the tape, “after steers were cut by a ritual slaughterer, other workers pulled out the animals’ tracheas with a hook to speed bleeding. In the tape, animals were shown staggering around the killing pen with their windpipes dangling out, slamming their heads against walls and soundlessly trying to bellow. One animal took three minutes to stop moving.”
  • Argument #6. Less Animal Suffering • 135 Abattoirs: Hell for Workers, Too In July 2000, Jesus Soto Carbajal, a worker at a Cargill meatpacking plant in Nebraska, was cutting hindquarters of beef “coming down the line at him every six seconds.”119 Eventually, the fast pace caught up with Carbajal when his knife slipped and sliced open his jugular vein. He died almost immediately. Contemporary meat and poultry slaughterhouses and processing plants are Amer- ica’s most dangerous places to work. The average slaughterhouse worker is three times more likely to be injured than the average factory worker.120 The handling of large and frightened animals, the use of dangerous equipment, and the inad- equate training of workers all contribute to the epidemic of injuries. The demand for speed at slaughterhouses and processing plants creates a dilemma for workers: Accept unsafe working conditions or risk being fired.121 Speed leads to carelessness, increasing workers’ risk of injury or death. For instance, when work- ers fail to completely stun cattle or hogs, the animals can regain consciousness and attack the workers.122 The greatest workplace dangers include high-speed processing lines, sharp knives, heavy lifting or pushing of animal carcasses, dangerous bacteria from animal remains, long hours and mandatory overtime, poor training, and a lack of protec- tive clothing and ergonomically safe equipment.123 Additionally, a lack of union representation removes a strong force for improving working conditions. Human Rights Watch characterizes meatpacking and slaughtering plants as places “where exhausted employees slice into carcasses at a frenzied pace … often suf- fering injuries from a slip of the knife or from repeating a single motion more than 10,000 times a day.”124 In Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser describes crippling inju- ries or death, including ones documented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration: plant workers having hands or other limbs crushed or severed by machinery, workers being pulled by conveyor belts into grinding equipment, slip- pery floors causing workers to fall from great heights to their deaths, and work- ers suffering asphyxiation from cleaning blood collection tanks filled with toxic gases.125despite companies’ intentions, their deaths may be slow and excruciating.Those conditions also endanger slaughterhouse workers (see “Abattoirs:Hell for Workers, Too,” above). The World Organization for Animal Health,which is supported by 167 member countries, offers detailed recommenda-tions for transporting and slaughtering animals in a humane way, but gov-ernments must implement that advice. Some holding areas at slaughterhouses have no water. That means ani-mals are unable to drink from the time they are first loaded onto the trucks
  • 136 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietuntil the time they are slaughtered. Many plants use electric prods to drivecattle into the slaughterhouse.126 The rate of killing in a typical modern slaughterhouse is breathtaking:13,200 chickens per hour, 1,100 pigs per hour, 250 cattle per hour. At thosespeeds, it is likely impossible to ensure that all animals have been adequatelystunned before they are killed. According to a report commissioned by theUSDA, in some plants, as many as 8 percent of pigs, 20 percent of cattle, and47 percent of sheep were not properly stunned.127 Slaughterhouses stun broiler chickens by placing their heads in an elec-trified pool of water. After that, the chickens’ necks are slit. Layer hens arenot typically stunned, because their osteoporotic, unexercised bones breakwhen exposed to the electrical current.128 Instead, layers are conscious whiletheir throats are slit. Cattle and pigs usually are stunned by a pneumatic bolt shot into theirforeheads. But some cattle are not stunned properly and “are often still aliveand conscious as they proceed down the production line,” according to theHumane Farming Association, an animal welfare organization.129 In bothkosher and halal slaughter, cattle or chickens typically are not stunnedbefore their throats are slit, so they are fully conscious when they are cutand as they bleed.130 “The chicken industry is way behind the beef and pork industries” interms of adopting more humane practices, according to Professor TempleGrandin of Colorado State University, a widely respected expert on animalslaughter techniques.131 Although figures are not available for the UnitedStates, in Europe—where similar slaughter methods are used—about30 percent of broiler chickens are not adequately stunned before slaughter.132That means the animals may suffer extreme pain as they are being “decon-structed.” Poultry are exempt from the Humane Methods of Slaughter Actof 1978, which requires livestock handling and slaughtering to be “carriedout only by humane methods” and calls for animals to be “quickly renderedinsensible to pain before they are slaughtered.” The Humane Society of theUnited States has sued the USDA to end that exemption.133 Agriculture Also Affects Non-Farm AnimalsLivestock are not the only animals that suffer from the current system ofagricultural production in the United States. The USDA acknowledges thatagricultural practices are the “primary factor depressing wildlife popula-tions in North America.”134 Of the 663 species listed as threatened or endan-gered, 272 made the list because of agricultural expansion and 115 due tothe use of fertilizers and pesticides.135 Agricultural pesticides are associ-
  • Argument #6. Less Animal Suffering • 137Sport fish, such as this trout, can be harmed by pesticides. They can also concentrate toxins in theirfat and harm their predators—both human and animal.ated with possible changes in hormonal activity in frogs and other amphib-ians (see “Pesticides: Gauging the Health Risk,” p. 84). Agricultural fertiliz-ers and livestock manure pollute streams, causing algal blooms that starvefish of oxygen, ultimately suffocating them (see “Modern Farming PracticesPollute Water,” p. 94). Sewage sludge applied to pasture not only affects live-stock, but deer and other animals as well. As with livestock, the toxins inthe sludge may kill the animals outright or may be stored in their fat andpassed on to the dwindling number of large predators, such as wolves. Amore direct threat is that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state gov-ernments routinely kill wolves that may threaten livestock. Pesticides—especially insecticides—unintentionally kill many species,including the natural predators of crop pests. (It is important to note thatwhat might be considered a pest to crops could be beneficial in a differentecosystem. Thus, the term “pest” does not necessarily mean an organismis inherently harmful.) Each year, millions of pounds of pesticides lethal toa broad range of species are applied across millions of acres of farmland.That usage causes widespread ecological harms to non-target species, suchas insects, weeds, fish in nearby rivers and streams, and the wildlife thatdepend on those insects and fish for survival. Consumers higher up on the food chain—including insects, birds, larva-eating fish, frogs and other amphibians, and other terrestrial mammals—
  • 138 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietmay be poisoned by consuming pesticide-contaminated prey. Becausethose consumers typically reproduce in smaller numbers than the insectsand other creatures they eat, their populations are less capable of recover-ing. Once those populations are reduced, more pesticides are required tocontrol the pests that the predators otherwise would have controlled. Some species are particularly vulnerableto pesticides. For example, the relatively largesurface area of small insects allows them toabsorb lethal doses quickly and easily, mak-ing non-target insects the frequent victimsof pesticide poisonings.136 Honeybees, forexample, have been so devastated by factorsincluding pesticides that many farmers needto rent beehives to ensure that their cropsare pollinated. The decline in important pol-linators has led the American Beekeeping Federation to decry the overuseof pesticides, and the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign isactively trying to reduce the misuse of pesticides that kill insects that pol-linate crops.137 Birds, fish, and other wildlife are exposed to agricultural-use pesticidesthat remain in the environment. Direct or indirect contact with those pesti-cides can poison them.138 Pesticides on U.S. farmland have been estimated tokill about 67 million birds each year.139 With birds, for example, the more theyfeed on fish that have ingested pesticides (as a result of runoff from contami-nated soil or drift), the more pesticides those birds accumulate in their tissue. Fish, too, are highly susceptible to pesticides as a result of soil runofffrom farmland into bodies of water or from drift during or after pesticideapplications. Major fish kills have been attributed to aerial sprayings of her-bicides and insecticides on farmland. High levels of those pesticides werefound in the fish that survived.140 Because fish are important prey for manyspecies of birds, contaminated fish harm birds and threaten ecosystems. What It All MeansHumane treatment of livestock should be an ethical imperative. Giving ani-mals enough space so that they are not driven to attack each other is not dif-ficult—farmers provided that for generations. Allowing animals to act outmost of their natural behaviors should be achievable. If they were allowedto go outside, given straw so they could build nests, and permitted to estab-lish a natural social order, fewer animals would be needlessly injured orkilled. Avoiding certain cruel procedures altogether makes sense—espe-
  • Argument #6. Less Animal Suffering • 139cially when they are only performed because of inappropriate animal hus-bandry (as with debeaking chickens and detoeing turkeys). Feeding cattlediets that do not make them sick is feasible—let them eat what they alwaysate, instead of fattening them on grain and toxin-tainted feed. When ani-mals are shipped, they should be given adequate room and protection fromextreme heat or cold—that is done for horses all the time. Finally, animalscould be slaughtered humanely if workers were adequately trained, slaugh-tering lines were slowed down, and poultry were rendered unconscious byinert gases. Until practice is consistent with theory, the simplest thing a consumercould do for animal welfare is to eat less (or even no) meat and other animalproducts. That would reduce the number of farm animals and the potentialfor mistreatment. Consumers also could choose meat and dairy productsmade from more humanely raised animals (see www.certifiedhumane.orgor Meanwhile, the entire animal-food industry—vol-untarily or in response to new laws—should be improving its practicesas much as possible. While those improvements might raise the price ofanimal products, the higher prices we would pay at the grocery store wouldbe slight indeed compared to the price livestock are now paying.
  • Making Change
  • Changing Your Own DietA s you’ve now seen, what you eat has effects that ripple notjust through every organ inyour body, but also throughthe natural environment andfarms and other parts of thefood industry. Will you changeyour diet or continue eating asyou have been? If you’re likemost of us, you probably could make some easy and tasty changes that willhelp protect your arteries, protect the planet, and protect farm animals. While some people think nutrition is impossibly complicated, today’sbasic dietary message is actually quite clear and simple. The experts (seetable 1) recommend that you: Base your diet largely on vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, and healthy oils. Eat fish and only modest amounts—if you choose to eat them—of fat-free or low-fat meat and dairy products. 143
  • 144 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Table 1. Health experts’ dietary advice1 Organization Nutrition advice American Cancer “Eat five or more servings of a variety of vegetables and Society fruits each day.… Limit consumption of red meats, especially those high in fat and processed [bacon, ham, sausage]. Choose fish, poultry, or beans as an alternative to beef, pork, and lamb.” American Diabetes “Reduced intake of total fat, particularly saturated fat, may Association reduce risk for diabetes… [as would] increased intake of whole grains and dietary fiber.” American Heart “Consume a diet rich in vegetables and fruits    hole-grain, …w Association high-fiber foods    sh   ean meats and vegetable alternatives, …fi …l fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1% fat) dairy products.” American Institute “Choose predominantly plant-based diets, rich in a variety for Cancer Research/ of fruits and vegetables, pulses (legumes), and minimally World Cancer processed starchy foods.” Research Foundation 2005 Dietary “A healthy eating plan is one that emphasizes fruits, Guidelines for vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk Americans and milk products. Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Is low in saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.” World Health “[Eat] more fruit and vegetables, as well as nuts and Organization whole grains.… [Cut] the amount of fatty, sugary foods in the diet.… [Move] from saturated animal-based fats to unsaturated vegetable-oil based fats.” Cut way back on salt, refined sugars, white flour, and partially hydroge- nated oils. Making the right dietary choice can be extended beyond health con-cerns by eating in an environmentally responsible way. Raising livestockrequires far more resources—land, energy, pesticides, fertilizer, andwater—and generates far more pollution than growing fruits, vegetables,and grains. Among animal products, producing grain-fed beef harms theenvironment much more than raising poultry and grass-fed beef and pro-ducing dairy foods. In addition, we should consider animal welfare. Out of sight is usuallyout of mind, and it is all too easy to forget about cramped chicken coops,filthy slaughterhouses, and the like when we sink our teeth into a juicycharbroiled steak or grilled chicken breast. Those considerations suggestthe benefits of not only avoiding fatty meat, dairy foods, and poultry, butof eating less animal products and getting essential nutrients from othersources. Far from being a punishment, eating such a diet opens up a mul-
  • Changing Your Own Diet • 145titude of wonderful new taste sensations. Alternatively, you could make aspecial effort to buy meat, dairy products, and eggs from humanely raisedanimals, ideally from small, local farms. We can all take control of our diets, even in a culture that encouragespeople to eat hamburgers, hot dogs, and soda pop almost from birth. Twohealthy diets that are easy to follow—and delicious—are the modifiedDietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Eating Plan (see figure 1)and the Mediterranean Food Pyramid (see figure 2). The DASH Eating Planwas developed by the National Institutes of Health for studies on bloodpressure.2 It is loaded with fruits and vegetables; recommends nuts, seeds,and low-fat dairy foods; and includes modest amounts of fish and low-fatmeat and poultry. It also is low in sodium. The DASH diet includes no morethan 4 to 5 servings of low-fat animal foods, and 16 to 19 servings of plantfoods, per day. The Mediterranean Food Pyramid (figure 2) was developed by Oldways,a nonprofit organization that advocates healthy, traditional diets. It is based Figure 1. The DASH Food Pyramid3
  • 146 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Figure 2. Healthy Mediterranean Diet Pyramid © 2000 Oldways Preservation & Exchange Trust, the diet once consumed widely in southern Europe, including mainlandGreece, the island of Crete, and southern Italy. The diet includes modestamounts of dairy foods, fish, poultry, and eggs; wine in moderation; andplenty of fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. The Mediterraneandiet allows red meat only rarely. Both the DASH and Mediterranean dietsspecify much less refined sugars than most Americans eat, and they prettymuch exclude butter and stick margarine. Oldways’ Healthy MediterraneanDiet Pyramid also emphasizes daily physical activity, but that’s a given withany diet. Walking, biking, jogging, tennis, swimming, weight-lifting, andother activities are essential to good health.
  • Changing Your Own Diet • 147 For those who have ethical concerns about animal welfare or eatinganimal products, a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet is the way to go. Sucha diet is based on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dried beans, nuts, and,if not vegan, low-fat and non-fat dairy products and egg whites. Eithera lacto-ovo vegetarian diet or a vegan diet can provide all the necessarynutrients while minimizing the risk of chronic disease.4 For any doubters,the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada are reassur-ing: “Appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionallyadequate, and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment ofcertain diseases.”5 Those groups produced a Vegetarian Food Pyramid thatfeatures a healthy lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (see figure 3 for our adaptationof that pyramid).6 Figure 3. Vegetarian Food Pyramid7 1 tsp oil, soft margarine, or mayonnaise Fats 2 servings 1 medium fruit, a day ½ cup cut-up or cooked fruit, ½ cup fruit juice, Fruits 1/4 cup dried fruit, 2 or more servings ½ cup calcium-fortified fruit juice a day ½ cup cooked vegetables; 1 cup raw vegetables; ½ cup vegetable juice; 1 cup cooked or 2 cups raw bok choy, broccoli, collards, kale, Chinese cabbage, mustard greens, or okra; ½ cup calcium-fortified tomato juice Vegetables 4 or more servings a day Legumes, ½ cup cooked beans, peas, or lentils; ½ cup tofu or tempeh; milks, 2 tbs nut or seed butter; ¼ cup nuts (including almonds); 1 oz meat analogue; 1 egg; 1/2 cup cow’s milk, nuts, other yogurt, or calcium-fortified soymilk; ¾ oz cheese; protein foods ½ cup tempeh or calcium-set tofu; 5 servings ½ cup cooked soybeans; ¼ cup soynuts a day 1 slice whole-grain bread, ½ cup cooked whole grain or cereal (oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, wheat berries, bulgur, buckwheat groats), 1 oz whole-grain ready-to-eat cereal (Wheaties, Cheerios, All-Bran, Shredded Wheat, wheat germ, and others), 1 oz calcium-fortified whole-grain breakfast cereal Grains 6 or more servings a day, mostly whole grains Notes: This pyramid is designed for both vegans and those who eat dairy products and eggs. Aim for eight servings a day of calcium-rich foods (in italics), and be sure to get sufficient vitamins B12 and D from foods or supplements. (A serving of milk or yogurt is ½ cup.)
  • 148 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet The Vegetarian Food Pyramid Avoid Food Poisoningreplaces meat and poultry with nuts(and nut butters), beans (including Whatever diet you choose, protecttofu), seeds, and eggs. It emphasizes yourself from germs that lurk inlow-fat or non-fat milk, yogurt, or animal products and in fruits andcheese or vegetarian substitutes. Veg- vegetables. Wash your hands and all cooking implements after theyans can easily adapt that lacto-ovo come in contact with raw meat anddiet to their needs. Because of their poultry. Wash fruits and vegetablesmore restricted diets, vegetarians before eating them. And keep hot(especially vegans) should eat fortified foods hot and cold foods cold.foods or take dietary supplements toensure that they consume adequate amounts of vitamin B12, calcium, vita-min D, iron, and zinc.8 Anyone who does continue to eat animal foods should consider buyingones that caused the least misery for the animals. That means eggs fromuncaged hens, beef from cattle that never saw a feedlot, pork and poultryfrom pigs and birds that could roam about, and milk from cows that grazedon pastures, weather permitting. Look for label claims like “humanelyraised” and, if you’re at a farmer’s market, ask the farmers about their prac-tices. Even animals raised organically are not necessarily raised in the mosthumane ways. Several resources are provided in appendix B, p. 179. When changing your diet for health, environmental, or ethical reasons,you need to remember that avoiding fatty meat and dairy products is onlyhalf the solution. The other half is choosing healthy plant-based foods. Mostof the bread, pasta, rice, and other grain foods that Americans consume aremade from refined grains; soft drinks and candy are made with empty-calorie sugar and high-fructose corn syrup; and too much once-healthyvegetable oil has been partially hydrogenated and contains artery-cloggingtrans fat (that is especially the case for fried foods at restaurants). Making several little changes quickly adds up to an overall healthierdiet. Consider someone who replaced one 3½-ounce serving of beef, oneegg, and a 1-ounce serving of cheese each day with a mix of vegetables,fruit, beans, and whole grains. That modest change would increase theperson’s daily consumption of dietary fiber by 16 grams (more than half therecommended intake) and reduce the intake of fat by 22 grams (one-thirdof the recommended daily limit) and saturated fat by 12 grams (more thanhalf the recommended limit).9 In environmental terms, over a year, thosechanges would spare the need for 1.8 acres of cropland, 40 pounds of fertil-izer, and 3 ounces of pesticides. It also would mean dumping 11,400 fewerpounds of animal manure into the environment. Multiply those improve-
  • Changing Your Own Diet • 149ments by millions of people and it’s easy to see the dramatic improvementsin health and reductions in pollution that dietary changes could bringabout. (You can see the effects of the dietary changes that you might makeby using our computerized calculator at the Center for Science in the PublicInterest’s web site at We’ve created a Diet Scorecard (next page) to help you gauge the overallimpact of your diet on your health, the environment, and the welfare offarm animals (our computerized version is a lot easier to use). The healthscore reflects the benefits of plant foods, seafood, and low-fat animal prod-ucts and the harm from the saturated fat, cholesterol, and other substancesin animal foods. The environmental dimension considers such factors asair and water pollution from feedlots and industrial-style hog and poultryproduction, methane emitted by cattle, and problems related to fertilizersand pesticides. The animal welfare score reflects such practices as crowdingon factory farms and feedlots and inhumane treatment at slaughterhouses.
  • 150 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet
  • Changing Government PoliciesT he preceding chapters have detailed many of the human health, environmental, and animal welfare problems stemming from ani- mal agriculture—particularly when conducted on an industrialscale. All of those problems would be diminished if Americans switched toa more plant-based diet. Although millions of people haveadopted healthier, more plant-based diets,change is hard, because diet is embeddedin our family traditions and culture andperpetuated by major industries. It willtake more than occasional public servicemessages, newspaper articles, and officialreports to get the bulk of the population eat-ing a “greener” diet. This chapter suggests a variety ofgovernment programs and policies—fewof which would be easily obtained—thatwould help move Americans toward a more plant-based diet. Recogniz-ing that not everyone would or should become a vegetarian, we suggestmeans of both obtaining healthier animal products and improving how 151
  • 152 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietanimals are raised. Consumer demand will be the most important factorin changing what people eat, what food marketers offer, and what farm-ers grow. But nutrition- and environment-based food and farm policiescould improve diets indirectly. To that end, some of the policy optionssuggested here would “internalize” the health and environmental costsof producing animal products. That would mean paying a little more atthe supermarket, but paying less in the form of higher medical costs anda degraded environment. As Joel Salatin, a Virginia farmer who is a pas-sionate advocate of small farms and local agriculture, is quoted in MichaelPollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, defending the sometimes higher pricessmall farmers charge: I explain that with our food all of the costs are figured into the price. So- ciety is not bearing the cost of water pollution, of antibiotic resistance, of foodborne illnesses, of crop subsidies, of subsidized oil and water—all of the hidden costs to the environment and the taxpayer that make cheap food seem cheap.1 Our focus here is on government actions, but companies could act alot faster voluntarily. Some progressive companies and farmers, largeand small, alternative and mainstream, already are producing healthierfoods, minimizing their impact on the environment, and raising animalshumanely. We hope other companies will emulate them. One activity not discussed below, but important, is research. It is crucialthat government continues to invest generously in objective scientific andeconomic research on health, the environment, and animal welfare. Thatresearch will provide insights on the effects of different diets and farmingmethods and suggest ways to improve government policies and industrypractices. Improving Human HealthThe federal government invests billions of dollars a year in the food stampprogram, school lunches and breakfasts, and similar programs. It feedsmillions daily at cafeterias in its hospitals, mess halls, office buildings, andprisons. It spends tens of millions of dollars a year on nutrition researchand provides sensible nutrition advice. But the government makes poor useof its knowledge, resources, and facilities when it comes to preventing heartdisease, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases and saving the tens of bil-lions of dollars that are now wasted on treating those often-preventablediseases. The recommendations outlined here challenge the government toput its words into action.
  • Changing Government Policies • 1531. Increase Fruit and Vegetable ConsumptionConsuming more nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables is one of the mostimportant dietary changes that consumers should make. Eating more fruitsand vegetables is heartily endorsed by the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Ameri-cans, because doing so would add vital nutrients to diets and could displaceless-healthful foods. The government should show that it means what itsays by sponsoring programs, including the following, that would have areal impact. Intensive media campaigns should be initiated to encourage people to consume more fruits and vegetables (as well as whole grains and beans). Currently, the “5 A Day” program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which encourages people to eat more fruits and vege- tables, receives only about $5 million in annual funding and has negligi- ble impact. Other media campaigns should discourage the consumption of fatty meat and dairy products, soft drinks, and salty processed foods. The overall budget should be at least $150 million per year (50 cents per person). The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) highly successful Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program provides a free serving each day of a fruit or vegetable to schoolchildren. Unfortunately, the program only has the funding to reach several hundred schools. Considering that it benefits both children and farmers, it should be expanded nationally at an annual cost of roughly $4 billion. That would be a far smarter investment than the $20 billion paid in some years to grain, cotton, and rice farmers. In the Food Stamp program, bonus stamps could be provided for the purchase of fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits and vegetables. Sim- ilarly, as the Institute of Medicine has recommended, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) pro- gram should provide more fresh fruits and vegetables and less juice, cheese, milk, and eggs. The USDA is required to rewrite its regulations by November 2006.
  • 154 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet City and state governments should sponsor more farmers’ markets, especially in low-income communities, to help distribute locally grown fresh produce.2. Reduce the Fat Content of MeatBecause animal fat promotes heart disease, it would be helpful if beef andpork were as lean as possible. (Hog farmers are raising far leaner hogs thanthey did several decades ago.) Certain breeds of cattle tend to be lower in fat,and younger animals usually are lower in fat than older ones. Fat content isalso increased by the high-grain diets cattle eat at feedlots. The governmentshould implement policies that lower the fat content of meat products. The approximate fat content of cattle could be assessed at the slaughter- house, with a modest per-pound tax levied on higher-fat cattle. The rev- enues from that tax could be used to reward ranchers and feedlot oper- ators who deliver lower-fat cattle to market, encourage farmers to raise lower-fat breeds and feed cattle grain for shorter periods of time, and encourage consumers to choose lower-fat and pasture-raised beef prod- ucts. Though pigs are slimmer than ever, analogous programs could ensure that that healthy trend continues. The USDA has standards of identity that limit the fat content of certain processed meats, but the current limits are a generous 30 percent by weight in ground beef and hot dogs and 50 percent in pork sausages. (The average hot dog now contains more than twice as much fat as pro- tein.) Those high-fat products provide a ready market for fat trimmings from cattle and hogs and clog consumer arteries. The fat limit for ground beef and hot dogs should be lowered—perhaps over several years—to 20 percent and for pork sausages to 25 percent. Judging from the many lower-fat products already on the market, companies could lower the fat content and still provide good-tasting foods.3. Reduce the Fat Content of MilkThe saturated fat in cow’s milk is a leading cause of heart disease. Althoughindividuals now can choose lower-fat dairy products, the fat that is removedinevitably returns to the market in the form of butter, cream, ice cream, orother high-fat products. To reduce the volume of saturated fat entering thefood supply, dairy pricing policies should be revised to encourage farmersto deliver lower-fat milk. Producers that deliver milk lower in saturated fatcould be paid more. The money could come—in a zero-sum manner—fromlower payments for milk that is higher in saturated fat. Several approachescan improve the nutrient content of milk.
  • Changing Government Policies • 155 Use breeds of cows that provide milk with less total and saturated fat, and, within those breeds, select for propagation individual cows whose milk is lower in fat. Add conjugated linoleic acid to the cows’ feed or change feed in other ways to lower the total fat content of milk by about 25 percent.2 “Spreadable” butter is produced naturally in Ireland by feeding cows a source of unsaturated Add canola seeds (the source of fat, such as canola. canola oil) or other sources of unsaturated oil to cows’ feed to lower the saturated fat and increase the unsaturated fat content by 20 percent each.34. Label Food More EffectivelyThe familiar Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods is used daily by mil-lions of people, but it has not been as effective as some had hoped in improv-ing diets and promoting health; also, fish, produce, and unprocessed meatand poultry are not required to have nutrition labels. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the USDA should develop a more effective labeling system to supplement the Nutrition Facts label. One option would be to require companies to put a symbol on the front of a product’s package to highlight the food’s overall nutri- tional value. Foods would be rated according to their content of saturated fat, sodium, vitamins, and other nutrients and then required to put a green (“any time”), yel- low (“sometimes”), or red (“seldom”) circle or square on the front label. An alternative more palatable to industry would be to establish a voluntary system, as the United Kingdom and Sweden have done (see image). Such straight- Swedish voluntary “good food” forward front-label symbols would be a great symbol. help to hurried shoppers, children, and others. Steaks, ground beef and poultry, and other fresh and frozen meat and poultry products are not required to provide nutrition information on labels. The USDA should order such labeling, which would help people avoid fattier foods. While nutrition information is on most packaged foods, people choose blindly when they eat out. Chain table-service restaurants should be required to list on their menus the calorie, saturated and trans fat, and
  • 156 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet sodium content of each item. Fast-food restaurants should be required to post the calorie content of each item on their menu boards.45. Prevent Foodborne DiseasesAnimals harbor a wide variety of microorganisms that do not harm theanimals but can cause serious and sometimes fatal diseases in humans.Farming and processing practices, as well as the federal government’s reg-ulatory system, should be improved to minimize the toll of foodborne dis-eases. Aside from eating (and producing) less meat, actions to prevent foodpoisoning include the following. The health and food-safety responsibilities of the USDA, FDA, and other federal agencies should be consolidated into a single independent agency, as several other countries have done. The current multi-agency system is inefficient and suffers from a severe conflict of interest: The USDA is charged with both promoting the consumption, and regulat- ing the safety, of meat and poultry products. A new, streamlined pub- lic health agency should be empowered to levy stiff fines, recall tainted products from the marketplace, and inspect foreign processing plants. Congress should give the federal government a specific mandate to reduce hazards in the food supply. Pathogen-reduction and enforcement authority are largely lacking from our existing meat and poultry inspec- tion laws. The USDA should require cattle ranchers to use bar-coded or radio-fre- quency identification tags or retinal imaging to track individual cattle from birth to the slaughterhouse and to help pinpoint sources of food poi- soning and mad cow disease. Such systems are already in use in Europe, Canada, Japan, and other countries. Fresh produce and grains should carry information on the country (and possibly the state and farm) of ori- gin to facilitate traceback in the event of contamination. Food-safety measures—from the farm to the supermarket—should be upgraded. Vaccinations, feed additives, carcass washes, temperature controls on trucks, and other measures are needed to minimize the pres- ence of pathogens. On egg farms, for example, layer hens should be cer- tified as Salmonella-free, and any eggs that might be contaminated with Salmonella should be pasteurized or cooked in processed foods. Outbreak reporting systems should be improved to encourage more thor- ough investigations and more specific information on the food sources of the outbreaks. When animal pathogens are found in plant-based foods, investigators should identify how and where the contamination likely occurred.
  • Changing Government Policies • 1576. Prevent Antibiotic ResistanceMany farmers add medically important antibiotics to livestock feed tocompensate for overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. That practice,however, increases the likelihood that bacteria harmful to humans willbecome resistant to antibiotics and cause infections that are more diffi-cult to treat. To maintain the effectiveness of those invaluable drugs forhuman medicine, Congress should ban the routine feeding of medicallyimportant antibiotics to livestock. Indeed, scientific research and a fewmajor producers have found that feeding antibiotics to healthy chickens,hogs over 50 pounds, and grass-fed cattle is largely unnecessary. A ban, aslikely would occur if pending bipartisan legislation (S.742) were to pass,would not prevent farmers and ranchers from using antibiotics to treatsick animals.7. Stop Promoting Unhealthy Meat and Dairy FoodsThe beef, pork, dairy, and egg industries, with administrative assistancefrom the USDA, “tax” themselves to raise war chests for advertising(for example, “Pork–The Other White Meat,” celebrity “milk mustache”ads, “Beef Gives Strength,” “The Incredible Edible Egg”) and research.Together, those industriesspend tens of millions ofdollars annually promot-ing their products—a sumthat dwarfs what the govern-ment and industry spend topromote the consumption offruits, vegetables, and wholegrains. Although some of theadvertising features lower-fattypes of meat and milk, allof it serves as an advertise-ment for foods that contributeto health and environmentalproblems. It is hypocritical forthe government to facilitatethe promotion of foods thatare inconsistent with its owndietary guidelines. Congressshould eliminate federal involvement in the milk, cheese, beef, pork, andegg programs or limit the advertising to the healthiest products.
  • 158 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet8. More Healthful Meals at Government-Run FacilitiesFederal, state, and local governments directly feed millions of people everyday at schools, government cafeterias, military bases, prisons, and hospi-tals. Government could easily promote healthier diets at those facilities byproviding more dishes based on fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.Animal products served should be low in fat and salt and made from ani-mals raised humanely and without medically important antibiotics. Nutri-tion information should be provided. Such government efforts would pro-mote health; create markets for healthier foods; and set an example for otherlarge employers, hospitals, colleges, and restaurants. Improving the EnvironmentA nation’s stewardship of the environment reflects its consideration offuture generations. Today, though, farmers apply copious amounts of fertil-izer and pesticides to vast acreages of crops destined for animal feed, pollut-ing the environment and possibly harming wildlife, farmworkers, and con-sumers. Raising large numbers of cattle, hogs, and poultry in concentratedanimal feeding operations (CAFOs) generates air and water pollution. Numerous state and federal laws are aimed at protecting the environ-ment, but some of those laws have limited applicability to agriculture. More-over, in its regulation of the industry, the federal government sometimeshas gone in the wrong direction: The Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) has exempted some 14,000 poultry, egg, dairy, and hog farms frompotential fines of up to $27,500 per day for polluting the air or water withanimal manure.5 To tackle the noxious problems caused by CAFOs, local and nationalcitizens’ groups, including Public Citizen and Global Resource ActionCenter for the Environment, are seeking to stop the building of new largeanimal feeding operations. In 2003 the American Public Health Associationjoined in, urging federal, state, and local governments to impose a morato-rium on new CAFOs until adequate scientific data on the “risks to publichealth have been collected and uncertainties resolved.”6 Counties in Iowa,Missouri, North Carolina, and other states where the hog industry has beenmost aggressive are beginning to approve moratoriums on CAFOs. Shifting to a more plant-based diet is one sure way to lessen numerousenvironmental burdens. But since not everyone is going to do that, federaland state governments should adopt new policies to protect the environ-ment from large-scale animal agriculture. The following measures alsowould nudge people in a more plant-based direction by slightly increasingthe costs of producing beef, pork, poultry, eggs, and milk. After all, it is only
  • Changing Government Policies • 159fair that livestock producers—and consumers of animal products—bear thefull economic costs of their activities. Even the Farm Foundation, whichis supported by the cattle, hog, and other industries, acknowledges that“reflecting the true cost and value of manure and byproducts in prices ofproducts or services might provide an incentive for producers and proces-sors to adopt systems that maximize profits while being environmentallyfriendly.”71. Prevent Air Pollution from Factory FarmsFactory farms that raise cattle, hogs, and poultry are major air polluters.Governments should limit the density and total number of animals. TheEPA should aggressively enforce the Clean Air Act, Superfund (a wasteabatement program), and Community Right-to-Know laws as they applyto CAFOs.2. Prevent Water Pollution from Factory Farms In its place, nu- trient-rich ma- nure is a valu- able resource. But the 1 trillion pounds of ani- mal waste gen- erated by animal feeding opera- tions frequently pollutes nearby streams and riv- ers.8 When ma- nure lagoons onhog farms are breached—because of major storms, equipment breakdowns,or operational errors—the waste pollutes groundwater and near­by water-ways, contaminating the water and killing fish. In addition, nutrients in an-imal manure applied to cropland often pollute waterways. Water pollution would be best mitigated by raising fewer animals and limiting the size of CAFOs. Short of that, the EPA has mandated that CAFOs, as well as smaller or less-intensive feeding operations likely to cause water pollution, obtain permits to limit pollution. Those permits include comprehensive nutrient management plans, the requirements of which are designed by the USDA and vary by state. Management plans
  • 160 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet are not now, but should be, subject to public review to promote enforce- ment. The plans also do little to stop the construction or operation of open-air lagoons of dirty, smelly manure. Stringent Clean Water Act permits with enforceable provisions should be used to prevent pollution from CAFOs’ manure storage facilities and when the manure is spread or sprayed on fields. Considering how troublesome manure lagoons have been, the EPA could ban ones over a certain size. The USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) gives individual CAFOs up to $450,000 to cover the cost of building, improv- ing, or upgrading their manure lagoons and effluent sprayfields. How- ever, as the New York Times put it, that largesse helps farmers “comply with regulations that don’t mean much to begin with.”9 EQIP grants encourage the use of large-scale lagoons and sprayfield systems, because they do not limit the size of the operations that receive the grants. EQIP support should be limited to smaller, less environmentally harmful live- stock facilities. To prevent phosphorus pollution of waterways, the USDA should encourage farmers to use more appropriate animal feed. Two com- mon approaches are reducing phosphorus levels in feed and adding the enzyme phytase, which breaks down the phosphorus-rich phytic acid in feed and enables animals to absorb more phosphorus. Adding phytase to swine and poultry feed reduces the phosphorus content of manure by as much as 25 to 50 percent.10 Dairy farmers, who commonly add too much phosphorus (and nitrogen) to feed, could reduce costs and runoff substantially if they cut back.11 Government agencies generally give broad discretion to producers to create and implement nutrient management plans, though some states might impose more stringent requirements. Only Wisconsin has allowed nutrient feed-management changes to qualify for funding from the USDA’s EQIP.12 Other states should do the same. Hormones—including natural ones and the growth hormones implanted in beef cattle—have been found in waterways downstream from feed- lots. Initial studies show that the minuscule amounts of hormones cause malformations in fish. Greatly decreasing the number and density of cat- tle in CAFOs would solve the environmental problem.3. Reduce Water UseThe enormous amounts of (mostly irrigation) water that are used to pro-duce feed grains erode soil, pollute water, deplete groundwater reservoirs,and poison fish. Ultimately, over-irrigation can deplete water of oxygen andharm wildlife in and around ponds and lakes.
  • Changing Government Policies • 161 Irrigation subsidies encourage farmers to waste water and cultivate poor- quality land where irrigation contributes to water-quality problems. From 1902 to 1986, irriga- tion subsidies cost taxpayers as much as $70 billion. The subsidies just to farmers in Califor- nia’s Central Valley Project now amount to $400 million a year, mostly going to large farmers, ac- cording to the En- vironmental Work- ing Group.13 Those subsidies should be reduced or eliminated. Currently, many water rate structures charge farmers on a per-acre basis regardless of water use. Water deliveries to farms should be measured and farmers charged according to how much water they use. Federal loans or grants should be available to encourage farmers to use more efficient irrigation systems. A portion of farm subsidies could be withheld from farmers who waste water.4. Reduce Pesticide and Fertilizer UseGargantuan quantities of fertilizer and smaller quantities of pesticideshelp maximize yields of feed grains and other crops but exact a cost fromthe environment and health. The mining of minerals and manufacture offertilizer require huge amounts of energy and nonrenewable resourcesand pollute the air and water. Using the fertilizer generates more air andwater pollution. Pesticides may harm workers and nearby residents, aswell as non-target animals and plants. And consumers, of course, wouldprefer not to have pesticide residues in their food. Eating fewer animalproducts would reduce the harm from pesticides and fertilizer (thoughthe benefits would be slightly reduced because more food crops wouldhave to be produced). Government actions to lessen the problems includethe following. The USDA and state departments of agriculture should mount intensive programs to encourage feed-grain producers (and other farmers) to slash their use of pesticides and chemical fertilizer by using techniques rang- ing from integrated pest management to organic farming to biotechnol-
  • 162 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet ogy. Though agriculture departments have long belittled organic agri- culture, they are beginning to see that thousands of small farmers are thriving by growing fruits, vegetables, grains, and livestock for that exploding niche market. Just as the European Union provides about $500 million a year in subsidies to organize farmers, states could pro- vide loans, grants, or tax breaks (see next item) to help farmers get off the chemical treadmill.14 Taxing fertilizers and pesticides would internalize some of their envi- ronmental costs and reduce their use. Even a small tax, which would not affect food prices, would raise signif- icant revenues to fund research projects and support improved farming practices. But currently, many farm states actually exempt pesticides and fertilizers from sales taxes, at a cost to the states of hun- dreds of millions of dollars each year.15 The Soil and Water Conservation Soci- ety estimates that a 5 percent federal tax Insecticides all too often kill harmless on agricultural fertilizers and chemicals and helpful insects, such as ladybugs, could raise $1 billion annually.16 The key is along with pests. to earmark tax revenues for environmen- tal and health programs. Nebraska uses pesticide registration fees ($1.3 million in 2003) to fund conservation programs, including installation of conservation buffers, weed control, and water quality improvements. Iowa’s Groundwater Protection Act taxes nitrogen fertilizer (75 cents per ton) and imposes pesticide registration fees to support conservation activities. In 2001, the state’s fertilizer tax raised $913,000, and its pesti- cide fees raised $2.7 million, with 35 percent of the revenue allocated to the Leopold Cen- ter for Sustainable Agriculture and the remainder to solid waste and agricultural health programs.17 Even though the 2002 Farm Bill requires producers to reduce soil ero- sion (through the USDA’s Conserva-
  • Changing Government Policies • 163 tion Compliance provisions) and protect wetlands (under the Swamp- buster provisions) in order to receive subsidies, no such requirement directly protects water quality. Subsidies could be made contingent upon farmers’ reducing fertilizer and pesticide inputs to appropriate levels. The Netherlands, in response to a European Union directive aimed at protecting the environment, has tested several approaches to limiting nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer and manure. It recently imple- mented a complex system of application limits. The USDA could follow that example and seek congressional authority to sponsor pilot projects that would limit fertilizer and manure use.185. Reduce Feed Grain UsageAmerica’s livestock industry relies heavily on feeding practices designed tobring meat and dairy products to market as quickly and cheaply as possible.The effects of those feedingpractices on the environment,the animals, and the nutrientcontent of foods have receivedscant attention. Reducing theamount of grain in cattle feed(and allowing chickens andpigs to obtain at least someof their food from barnyardsand pastures) would deliverhealthier products to consum-ers, protect the environment, and protect the animals’ welfare. Consumerscould help move the country in that direction by eating fewer animal prod-ucts or, at the very least, choosing grass-fed beef. Congress should provide greater funding for programs that pay feed- grain farmers to remove large areas of land, especially environmen- tally sensitive land, from production. Slightly higher grain prices might slightly reduce the amount of grain fed to cattle. The high-grain diets fed to cattle at feedlots makes the cattle sick; increases the fat content of the beef; and necessitates the use of fertilizer, water, pesticides, and land to produce the grain. To protect people, cattle, and the environment, the USDA or FDA should set standards that would limit the grain content of the feed and the length of time cattle eat it. The USDA should develop a labeling system that would identify meat, poultry, and milk produced in an environmentally friendly and humane
  • 164 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Cheap Corn: Indirect Subsidy to Livestock Producers Since the Depression, the federal government has maintained farm programs to keep farmers afloat and supplies and prices stable. The traditional policies were changed radically in 1996, when Congress passed the Freedom to Farm legislation. This simplified description of farm programs highlights some key points.19 Before 1996, corn and several other major crops had price floors. The government used a combination of crop-storage programs and acreage limitations to support the prices for those crops. Grain merchants such as Cargill and food processors such as General Mills, as well as foreign buyers, had to pay at least the floor prices for grains. The 1996 law ended most planting restrictions and replaced price sup- ports with government payments. One subsidy consists of direct payments to farmers regardless of the amount of crops produced. The original goal was to phase out those payments over several years. A second subsidy, using so-called loan deficiency payments (the loans actually are not intended to be repaid), pays farmers the difference between the market price and the “support price” for corn, wheat, cotton, and other “program crops.” Before 1996, if the support price, also called the loan rate, was $2.00 per bushel, farmers were essentially assured that they would receive at least $2.00 per bushel for their grain. Now, with the use of loan deficiency payments, the farmer receives
  • Changing Government Policies • 165the market price, for example $1.50 per bushel, plus the 50-cent difference fromthe government. Those purchasing grain pay $1.50 per bushel (not $2.00), whichis well below the cost of producing the grain. That is, the purchasers of the grainbuy the grain at a subsidized price.That system worked well while market prices were high, but when prices dippeda couple of years after the 1996 farm bill was passed, Congress began providingfarmers with emergency subsidies—billions and billions of dollars’ worth of sub-sidies. Without a program to reduce production, such as acreage set-asides, thegovernment did not possess any policy tools to boost crop prices. The 2002 farmlegislation replaced ad hoc emergency payments with a third subsidy that kicks inwhen prices are low.That set of three subsidies helps farmers when harvests are large and prices arelow. Between 1995 and 2004, according to the Environmental Working Group, corngrowers “farmed the government” for $42 billion; subsidies for all crops totaled$144 billion. In 2005 alone, farm subsidies totaled $23 billion. Importantly, thosesubsidies constitute a multibillion-dollar-a-year boon not just to farmers, but alsoto livestock growers, food processors, and exporters.One solution to costly subsidies would be to return to price floors. That wouldensure that buyers paid a price that reflected the actual direct costs of growingcorn (though not the costs of pollution). The higher price of animal feed wouldencourage the cattle industry to reduce the time cattle spent at feedlots andmight increase slightly the cost of beef and, somewhat more so, the cost of porkand chicken.To keep the price of corn up near the target price, production might have tobe kept down by limiting the acreage planted in corn, expanding programs thatprotected environmentally sensitive land, and designating acreage that had tobe planted in crops, such as switchgrass, that could be burned or converted toethanol for cost-efficient energy. In addition, the government should, as it usedto do, ensure reserves of enough wheat, corn, and other crops to protect againstdroughts or other calamities here or abroad.Some of the billions of dollars saved by changing farm subsidy programs (includinglimiting payments to large farmers) should be reinvested in the farming commu-nity and food policies. Programs should help farmers reduce their use of fertil-izer and pesticides, transition to organic methods, and raise pasture-fed cattle.Smaller farmers, especially ones within driving distance of major cities, should behelped to sell produce directly to supermarkets, schools, and consumers at farm-ers’ markets. The tiny Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program that provides free dailysnacks to children in a couple of hundred schools should be greatly expanded.
  • 166 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet manner. (In 2006, the USDA took a step in that direction by proposing a definition for “grass-fed” cattle and sheep.)6. Prevent Overgrazing on Public LandsOvergrazing of cattle on public lands contributes to riparian damage (thatis, damage to surrounding waterways), erosion and water pollution, andharm to endangered species. Ranchers who use public lands in the Westsave as much as $500 million a year because the federal government absorbsmost of the costs of managing the land.20 Grazing fees should be increasedto reflect the true cost to the government. Another approach would be to buy out ranchers’ grazing rights througha voluntary program. A 2003 federal buy-out bill—the Voluntary GrazingBuyout Act—had strong support from environmental, conservation, andanimal welfare organizations, and some ranchers, but died because ofopposition from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Improving Animal WelfareHow a nation treats farm animals is a good gauge of that nation’s com-passion. Most animals raised on contemporary factory farms live in tinyspaces; breathe foul air; wallow in their own manure; eat unnatural diets;
  • Changing Government Policies • 167 U.K. Farm Animal Welfare Council’s 5 Freedoms23 The welfare of an animal includes its physical and mental state and we consider that good animal welfare implies both fitness and a sense of well-being. Any ani- mal kept by man must, at least, be protected from unnecessary suffering.… 1. Freedom from Hunger and Thirst—by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour. 2. Freedom from Discomfort—by providing an appropriate environment includ- ing shelter and a comfortable resting area. 3. Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease—by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment. 4. Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour—by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind. 5. Freedom from Fear and Distress—by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.or endure branding, castration, debeaking, or de-tailing. In some cases, ani-mals are intentionally harmed—or even tortured—by workers. New laws must be adopted and vigorously enforced to ensure thatall animals are raised and handled humanely, from birth to slaughter (see“U.K. Farm Animal Welfare Council’s 5 Freedoms,” above). Recent laws inCalifornia, to prohibit the force-feeding of ducks and geese for foie gras,and in Florida, banning the housing of pregnant sows in cramped crates,demonstrate broad public support for protecting farm animals. Overseas,sow gestation crates have been banned in the United Kingdom and arebeing phased out in the European Union and New Zealand. Similarly, layerhen battery cages were banned in Switzerland 10 years ago and are beingphased out in the European Union.21 Reforms aimed at farm practices and to encourage consumer purchaseof foods made from humanely raised animals certainly would improveanimal welfare. Matthew Scully, author of Dominion: The Power of Man, theSuffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy, a book pleading for more humanetreatment of animals, proposed a federal Humane Farming Act that “wouldexplicitly recognize animals as sentient beings and not as mere commodi-ties or merchandise.”22 The problems discussed in Argument #6 (“LessAnimal Suffering”) suggest that such a law should: Impose ample space requirements to prevent crowding of farm animals and eliminate restrictive caging of hogs, layer hens, and veal calves.
  • 168 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet Regulate conditions such as temperature, water, and space per animal on the trucks and railroad cars that transport animals from farm to farm or to feedlots and the slaughterhouse. Slow slaughterhouse lines to help ensure that the animals are stunned properly. Ensure that slaughterhouse operators and workers abide by the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, provide for improved enforcement of that law by the USDA, and extend the law to include poultry. Establish a reliable labeling scheme to encourage consumers to buy meat, dairy products, and eggs from more-humanely raised animals and to inform consumers when animals are raised on factory farms. Limit the amount of grain in feed and the duration of grain feeding at cattle feedlots. Doing that also would lessen the need for grain and anti- biotics, reduce pollution from feedlots, and probably lead to lower-fat beef. Require cattle to be identified with ear tags or other devices. That would mitigate the need for hot-iron branding and also help health officials identify animals infected with dangerous bacteria or the prions that cause mad cow disease. Require husbandry and cleanliness standards to reduce use of antibiotics. States, too, should enforce their animal cruelty laws as they apply tofarm animals or amend laws that exempt farm animals from protection.In the absence of federal action, states should prohibit practices such asdebeaking and forced molting of chickens, hot-iron branding of cattle, andde-tailing of hogs. Such measures would modestly raise the price of animal products, butany society that considers itself civilized should ensure that farm animalsare treated humanely.
  • Appendixes and Notes
  • Appendix A.A Bestiary of Foodborne PathogensF arm animals are the source of at least one out of five foodborne ill- nesses, and possibly many more. They cause illnesses either directly (from contaminated meat, poultry, dairy, or egg products) or indirectly(from fruits and vegetables that have been contaminated with manure). Youcan’t tell the players without a scorecard, so here are profiles of some of theleading causes of food poisoning.Campylobacter jejuniAs the leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States, Campylo-bacter causes 2.4 million sicknesses and over 100 deaths each year.1 Themain symptom of campylobacteriosis is diarrhea that lasts up to 10 days;it recurs in one out of four people.2 In severe cases, people can die fromsepticemia (a bacterial infection in the blood) or hemolytic uremic syn-drome (a cause of short-term kidney failure in children, usually followingan infection in the digestive system). Longer-term effects of some infec-tions include arthritis; meningitis (an inflammation of the central nervoussystem); colitis, which results in ulcers in the large intestine; and cholecys-titis (inflammation of the gallbladder). Each year, several thousand peo-ple who had contracted campylobacteriosis later develop Guillain-Barré 171
  • 172 • Six Arguments for a Greener DietSyndrome, an autoimmune disorder that causes severe weakness and evenparalysis.3 Campylobacter in feces, water, and urine remains viable at refrigeratortemperatures for several weeks.4 It thrives on the manure-strewn floors offactory farms, and the animals living there are regularly infected. Campylobacter is mainly found in poultry and sometimes in cattle.Healthy chickens and turkeys can carry the bacteria, which spread eas-ily through flocks. A 1999 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) studyfound Campylobacter in over 90 percent of poultry.5 During slaughter, bac-teria in the intestines may contaminate the meat, so it was not surprisingthat researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)found that 44 percent of chickens at supermarkets were contaminatedwith Campylobacter.6 Even more alarming, 24 percent of the Campylobacterisolates were resistant to the powerful antibiotics—fluoroquinolones—thatare often a last resort for treating food-poisoning victims. (Those antibioticsare no longer allowed to treat poultry flocks; see “Factory Farming’s Anti-biotic Crutch,” p. 68.) Despite all the concerns about foodborne illnesses,illness rates showed little change between 1999 and 2004.7Clostridium perfringensAbout 250,000 cases of food poisoning—but only a handful of deaths—arecaused each year by Clostridium perfringens. That bacterium is normallyfound in the intestinal tracts of cattle, hogs, poultry, and fish, as well as inhumans, and it is widely distributed in soil. Because C. perfringens producesspores that can survive in boiling water, it is often present after cooking,and bacterial populations may increase while foods cool. Fully cooked meatand gravy are the most common causes of infections. Symptoms includesevere abdominal cramps and diarrhea lasting for up to two weeks. Rarely,the infection may progress to the potentially fatal pig-bel syndrome, whichdestroys the intestines.8Escherichia coliE. coli is a natural and abundant resident of the intestinal tract of humansand most other mammals. In a healthy person, the bacteria can help pre-vent disease—particularly foodborne illnesses—by out-competing patho-gens for nutrients. But certain subspecies of E. coli—particularly E. coli O157:H7—cause gruesome foodborne illnesses. E. coli O157:H7 produces a toxin that damages the lining of the intes-tine, causing bloody diarrhea. The infection may lead to kidney failure anddeath. Each year, E. coli O157:H7 and its close relatives cause roughly 94,000
  • Appendix A. A Bestiary of Foodborne Pathogens • 173illnesses and kill about 80 people.9 Infections tend to be most severe in chil-dren. That was the case in 1993 when contaminated beef patties served atJack in the Box restaurants were linked to more than 600 illnesses and thedeaths of four young children.10 E. coli O157:H7 resides in up to 6 percent of cattle and one-third of sheep.The bug typically infects humans through meat contaminated at slaughter-houses. During evisceration, workers may damage the intestine, releasingits bacteria-laden contents onto meat.11 The nasty germ also can spreadfrom cattle hides contaminated with manure to slaughterhouse workersand equipment—and then to meat.12 Thanks in part to the beef industry’svigorous efforts to clean up its operations, illnesses caused by E. coli O157:H7 declined by 42 percent between 2002 and 2004.13 Still, in 2003, 60 percentof the nation’s largest meat plants failed to abide by federal regulations.14 These germs can infect people through routes other than food. Aftera group of schoolchildren visited a Pennsylvania dairy farm, 51 childrenwere sickened by a strain of E. coli O157:H7 identical to that found in cattleon the farm.15 And at a county fair in New York, runoff from a dairy barncontaminated the unchlorinated water supply, sickening 1,000 people withE. coli O157:H7 and causing two deaths.16ListeriaListeria monocytogenes is one of the deadliest foodborne pathogens. The CDCestimates that Listeria causes 2,500 flu-like illnesses each year—20 percent ofwhich are fatal.17 The latest data indicate that illness rates stayed the samebetween 2000 and 2004.18 Listeria is widely distributed in the environment and is a hardy bac-terium that can survive freezing, drying, and heat remarkably well. And,increasing its threat, Listeria can grow at refrigerator temperatures.19 Livestock may get infected by eating contaminated feed.20 Most humaninfections result from tainted meat, though vegetables can be contaminatedby Listeria in the soil, irrigation water, or manure used as fertilizer.21 Listeria is particularly harmful to people who are immunosuppressed,such as the elderly, those with organ transplants, and people with HIV. Athighest risk, however, are pregnant women. Because of hormonal effects onthe immune system during pregnancy, pregnant women are 20 times morelikely to contract a Listeria infection than other people and account for aboutone-third of all cases.22 Listeria can cross the placental barrier and infectthe developing fetus, which often results in miscarriages and stillbirths. Itcan also cause meningitis, which, if the child survives, may result in cere-bral palsy or other chronic neurological illnesses. Pregnant women should
  • 174 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietnot eat the foods most likely to be contaminated: hot dogs, deli meats, softcheeses, paté, and smoked seafood.23Mad Cow DiseaseMad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) infects thebrains of cattle, resulting in a cerebrum so riddled with holes that it resem-bles a sponge. Infected cattle have trouble standing and walking, hence theterm “mad.” As of April 2006, only eight cases of mad cow disease havebeen confirmed in North America—five in Canada and three in the UnitedStates—but the human form of the disease (variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob dis-ease, or vCJD) is so horrible that it has received enormous attention in themedia, and deserved attention from government and industry. People can suffer vCJD by eating contaminated beef. The infectiousagents—called prions (improperly folded proteins)—cause brain decaysimilar to that seen in cattle.24 Victims suffer memory loss, impaired coordi-nation, and hallucinations, and they invariably die. In the United Kingdom,the epicenter of mad cow disease, 3.7 million cattle were slaughtered to stopits spread.25 As of May 2006, 155 Britons had died from the disease (andfewer than 20 in other countries).26 Several factors contribute to prions’ harmfulness. First, prions havea disturbing ability to jump from one species to another, including cattle,humans, sheep, and domestic cats.27 Also, prions are far hardier than bacte-ria and viruses. They can withstand boiling, the even higher temperaturesused for sterilizing medical equipment, freezing, irradiation, and mostacids and bases.28 BSE is believed to have spread by adding rendered leftover meat andbones of cattle carcasses to cattle feed as a source of protein.29 A singleinfected cow could infect a large and geographically diverse population ofother cows. The risk to humans of consuming infectious meat is increased by someprocessors’ use of advanced meat recovery (AMR). That mechanical processextracts hard-to-reach bits of meat from the bones after most of the meathas been removed by hand. Because spinal columns are often processedin AMR equipment, the resulting meat may contain high-risk spinal andcentral nervous system tissue. In 2003, the USDA found such tissue in meatfrom more than 75 percent of the plants using AMR equipment. ThoughAMR use is declining, millions of pounds of AMR-recovered beef are usedeach year in such products as ground beef, meatballs, and taco filling.30 Fortunately, the chances of contracting vCJD in the United States areinfinitesimal, because so few cattle are infected. Increasingly stringent
  • Appendix A. A Bestiary of Foodborne Pathogens • 175controls are reducing the risk even further. Only one confirmed case hasoccurred in the United States, and that involved a person who spent timein the United Kingdom when mad cow disease was at its height. That alsowas true of most of the infected individuals in other countries.31 Eating beefis far likelier to cause heart disease than vCJD.SalmonellaA Salmonella infection can be contracted only by eating contaminatedfood.32 Infections cause flu-like symptoms—including vomiting, diarrhea,and fever—in over 1 million Americans each year. Salmonella kills about 600Americans each year, with its victims generally being 65 or older.33 Rarely,salmonellosis causes Reiter’s syndrome, a form of arthritis.34 Illness rateshave barely changed over the past 10 years.35 Salmonella can live in the digestive tracts of most vertebrates, includ-ing cattle, hogs, and poultry. It can inhabit the ovaries of laying hens, con-taminating their eggs before the shells form. On hog farms, Salmonella cansurvive for months in manure slurry.36 The USDA found Salmonella in over half of all large feedlots, 5 percentof dairy cows on farms, and 15 percent of the dairy cows sold at livestockauctions. The USDA also found Salmonella in 9 percent of broiler chickensand 38 percent of hog operations.37 Antibiotic resistance increases the harmfulness of Salmonella infections,with some strains being resistant to several different antibiotics. A study bythe Food and Drug Administration and the University of Maryland foundthat 20 percent of samples of ground chicken, beef, turkey, and pork werecontaminated with Salmonella, and 84 percent of those bacteria were resis-tant to at least one antibiotic.38 In recent years, the biggest Salmonella problem has been in eggs.39 About1 out of every 20,000 eggs is contaminated with Salmonella.40 Assuming thathalf the eggs are eaten fresh, Americans have about a 1 in 75 chance ofbeing exposed to Salmonella through eggs over the course of a year. Properhandling and cooking can usually kill the germs. The practice of forced molting of layer hens accelerates the spread ofSalmonella. When they are deprived of food, water, and light to prolongtheir productive lives, molted hens are 100 to 1,000 times more susceptibleto Salmonella infection than unmolted birds.41StaphylococcusOver 185,000 cases of food poisoning each year are caused by Staphylococ-cus. Meat, poultry, and dairy products are the most common food causes
  • 176 • Six Arguments for a Greener Dietof those infections. Because Staphylococcus is often present on human skin,poor sanitation among food handlers is probably the primary problem.However, animals also carry Staphylococcus, and this bug has been found inthe air around hog barns and on the hides of most livestock.42 Staphylococcus’s toxin may be produced in food before cooking, and it isstable at high temperatures. Symptoms of infection include nausea, vomit-ing, headache, muscle cramps, and fluctuations in blood pressure and pulserate. Symptoms usually last about two days.43Toxoplasma gondiiToxoplasma gondii is a parasite that causes about 115,000 foodborne illnesseseach year, killing 375 people. Toxoplasmosis occurs when T. gondii infectspeople who eat undercooked pork, lamb, or other meats or who improperlyhandle those foods during preparation. The infection can also occur throughexposure to cat feces. Minor infections resemble the flu, but T. gondii also canenter the central nervous system, damaging the eyes or brain.44 In pregnantwomen, infections can cause miscarriages or birth defects.45
  • Appendix B.Eating Green Internet ResourcesT hese web sites will provide a wealth of information on the topics cov- ered in Six Arguments for a Greener Diet. Explore! Center for Science in the Public Interest www.eatinggreen.orgAgriculture U.S. Department of Agriculture (Agricultural Research Service, Economic Research Service, food consumption data, etc.) GRACE Factory Farm Project — Web animated movie Sierra Club (factory farms) 177
  • 178 • Six Arguments for a Greener DietAnimal welfare Compassion in World Farming Compassion Over Killing Farm Sanctuary; Humane Society of the United States People for the Ethical Treatment; of Animals’ vegetarian campaign (video)Antibiotics Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics Keep Antibiotics Working www.keepantibioticsworking.orgEnvironment Environmental Defense (global warming, air and water pollu- tion, toxic chemicals) Environmental Working Group (farm subsidies, chemical con- taminants) Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea- food Watch (choosing safe and abundant seafood) Natural Resources Defense Council (pesticides, land use, global warming) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (pesticides, air and water pollution, etc.)Nutrition and health American Institute for Cancer Research (diet and cancer; recipes) Centers for Disease Control — NHANES dietary intake studies — healthy recipes index.htm
  • Appendix B. Internet Resources for Eating Green • 179 5 A Day (produce industry’s web site, with recipes) Harvard School of Public Health’s “Nutrition Source” (reli- able, independent source of information) National Institutes of Health — Medline Plus (sensible, main- stream information) — PubMed (abstracts of medical research) U.S. Department of Agriculture resources (Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Food Guide Pyramid, food safety) — Nutritional value of foods hg72_2002.pdf — Food and nutrient consumption FoodAvailIndex.htm U.S. Food and Drug Administration (nutrition labeling, antibiotics used in livestock, contaminants in food)Vegetarian diets Earthsave Meatless Monday Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Vegetarian Resource Group Vegsource www.vegsource.comWhere to buy or eat food that is locally grown or produced humanely Community-supported agriculture (subscriptions for local produce) Farmers’ markets Humane Farm Animal Care Locally grown meats
  • NotesPreface: Greener Diets for a Healthier World (pp. vii–xiv)1. G. Eshel and P. Martin, “Diet, energy, and global warming,” Earth Interactions (2005) 10(9):1–17.2. I. Hoffmann, “Ecological impact of a high-meat, low-meat and ovo-lacto vegetarian diet,” presentation at the Fourth International Congress on Vegetarian Nutrition, Loma Linda, CA, Apr. 2002.3. M. Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (East Rutherford, NJ: Penguin Press, 2006).4. L.R. Brown, “Running on empty,” Forum Appl Res Pub Pol (2001) 16(1):6–8.5. R. Naylor, H. Steinfeld, W. Falcon, et al., “Losing the links between livestock and land,” Science (2005) Dec. 9:1621–22.The Fatted Steer (pp. 3–13)1. Omaha Steaks,; Morton’s Steakhouse,; and Ultimate Entree, Shula’s, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS), “Working towards a consistently tender steak,” Agr Res (2005) 53(2):8–9; archive/feb05/steak0205.htm.4. G. Fry, “The importance of intramuscular fat” (Rose Bud, AR: Bovine Consulting and Engineering), 181
  • 182 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet5. USDA, Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA AMS), “National summary of meats graded, fiscal year 2004,” USDA AMS, “Comparison of certified beef programs” (2006), certprog/industry.htm.7. USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS), “Inspection & grading – what are the differences?,” safe food handling fact sheet, Inspection_&_Grading/index.asp.8. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, “Beef By Products Usage” (1996), uDocs/Beef%20By%20Products%20Usage%201996.doc.9. I.B. Mandell, J.G. Buchanan-Smith, and C.P. Campbell, “Effects of forage vs grain feeding on carcass characteristics, fatty acid composition, and beef quality in Limousin-cross steers when time on feed is controlled,” J Anim Sci (1998) 76:2619–30.10. S.P. Greiner, Beef Cattle Breeds and Biological Types, Publication No. 400–803 (Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Cooperative Extension, 2002),–803/400–803. html.11. T.E. Engle and J.W. Spears, “Effect of finishing system (feedlot or pasture), high-oil maize, and copper on conjugated linoleic acid and other fatty acids in muscle of finishing steer,” Anim Sci (2004) 78:261–69.12. Mandell, Buchanan-Smith, and Campbell, “Effects of forage.”13. Engle and Spears, “Effect of finishing system.”14. F.L. Laborde, I.B. Mandell, J.J. Tosh, et al., “Breed effects on growth performance, carcass characteristics, fatty acid composition, and palatability attributes in finishing steers,” J Anim Sci (2001) 79:355–65.15. S.K. Duckett, D.G. Wagner, L.D. Yates, et al., “Effects of time on feed on beef nutrient composition,” J Anim Sci (1993) 71:2079–88.16. A useful summary of studies, which vary widely in design, comparing grass-fed and grain-fed beef is presented in K. Clancy, Greener Pastures: How Grass-Fed Beef and Milk Contribute to Healthy Eating (Cambridge, MA: Union of Concerned Scientists, 2006), Iowa Corn Fed, P. Letheby, “Organic grass-fed beef: more than a niche?,” Grand Island Independent Aug. 1, 2003, C. Kummer, “Back to grass,” Atlantic Monthly May 2003:138–42.20. P. Brewer and C. Calkins, “Quality traits of grain- and grass-fed beef: a review,” 2003 Nebraska Beef Cattle Report (University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension), http://beef. I.B. Mandell, E.A. Gullett, J.W. Wilton, et al., “Effects of breed and dietary energy content within breed on growth performance, carcass and chemical composition and beef quality in Hereford and Simmental steers,” Can J An Sci (1998) 78:535–38.22. T.R. Neely, C.L. Lorenzen, R.K. Miller, et al., “Beef customer satisfaction: role of cut, USDA quality grade, and city on in-home consumer ratings,” J Anim Sci (1998) 76:1027–33.23. K. Severson, “Give ‘em a chance, steers will eat grass,” New York Times June 1, 2005:F1.24. Cattlemen’s Beef Board, “Beef: it’s what’s for dinner,” index.asp.25. American Grass Fed Beef, M. Pariza, “Perspective on the safety and effectiveness of conjugated linoleic acid,” Am J Clin Nutr (2004) 79(6 Suppl):1132s–6s.
  • Notes • 18327. J.M. Gaullier, J. Halse, K. Hoye, et al., “Supplementation with conjugated linoleic acid for 24 months is well tolerated by and reduces body fat mass in healthy, overweight humans,” J Nutr (2005) 135:778–84.28. Y. Wang and P.J. Jones, “Dietary conjugated linoleic acid and body composition,” Am J Clin Nutr (2004) 79:1153S–8S; and S. Desroches, P.Y. Chouinard, I. Galibois, et al., “Lack of effect of dietary conjugated linoleic acids naturally incorporated into butter on the lipid profile and body composition of overweight and obese men,” Am J Clin Nutr (2005) 82:309–19.29. D.S. Kelley and K.L. Erickson, “Modulation of body composition and immune cell functions by conjugated linoleic acid in humans and animal models: benefits vs. risks,” Lipids (2003) 38:377–86; and D. Mozaffarian, M.B. Katan, A. Ascherio, et al., “Trans fatty acids and cardiovascular disease,” N Engl J Med (2006) 345:1601–13.30. Institute of Medicine (IOM), Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients) (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2002), pp. 837–38.31. See, for example, IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes; C. Ip and J.A. Scimeca, “Conjugated linoleic acid and linoleic acid are distinctive modulators of mammary carcinogenesis,” Nutr Cancer (1997) 27:131–35; and S. Vissonneau, A. Cesano, S.A. Tepper, et al., “Conjugated linoleic acid suppresses the growth of human breast adenocarcinoma cells in SCID mice,” Anticancer Res (1997) 17:969–74.32. T. Friend, “Fatty acid aids war on cancer,” USA Today Apr. 5, 1989:1D.33. IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes.34. The fat in grass-fed beef contains about three to six times as much CLA as that in grain- fed beef. Grass-fed beef has about half as much fat as grain-fed beef. Engle and Spears, “Effect of finishing system”; F. Martz, M. Weiss, R. Kallenbach, et al., Conjugated Linoleic Acid Content of Pasture Finished Beef and Implications for Human Diets (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri, 2004),; D.C. Rule, K.S. Broughton, S.M. Shellito, et al., “Comparison of muscle fatty acid profiles and cholesterol concentrations of bison, beef cattle, elk, and chicken,” J Anim Sci (2002) 80:1202–11; and C.S. Poulson, T.R. Dhiman, A.L. Ure, et al., “Conjugated linoleic acid content of beef from cattle fed diets containing high grain, CLA, or raised on forages,” Livestock Prod Sci (2004) 91:117–28.35. Rule et al., “Comparison of muscle fatty acid profiles.”36. P.M. Kris-Etherton, W.S. Harris, and L.J. Appel, “Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease: new recommendations from the American Heart Association,” Arterioscl Thromb Vasc Biol (2003) 23:151–52; and C. Wang, M. Chung, A. Lichtenstein, et al., Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Cardiovascular Disease: Summary, Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 94, AHRQ Publication No. 04-E009-1 (Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2004).37. G. Gerster, “Can adults adequately convert alpha-linolenic acid (18:3n-3) to eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3) and docosapentaenoic (22:6n-3)?,” Int J Vitam Nutr Res (1998) 68(3):159–73; G.C. Burdge and S.A. Wootton, “Conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to eicosapentaenoic, docosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids in young women,” Br J Nutr (2002) 88:411–20; and J.T. Brenna, “Efficiency of conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to long chain n-3 fatty acids in man,” Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care (2002) 5:127–32.38. P.M. Kris-Etherton, W.S. Harris, and L.J. Appel, “American Heart Association Scientific Statement: fish consumption, fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids, and cardiovascular disease,” Circulation (2002) 106:2747–57. [Published correction appears in Circulation (2003) 107:512.]
  • 184 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet39. An uncooked grass-fed rib steak contains about 13 milligrams of eicosapentanenoic acid (EPA) and 2 milligrams of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per 3½ ounces. It also contains about 33 milligrams of alpha-linolenic acid per serving, which provides the body with no more than 8 milligrams of EPA and DHA. Thus, a 7-ounce uncooked rib steak could provide, at most, about 46 milligrams of EPA and DHA. Certain other cuts have twice as much omega-3s. J.D. Wood, M. Enser, A.V. Fisher, et al., “Animal nutrition and metabolism group symposium on improving meat production for future needs,” Proc Nutr Soc (1999) 58:363–70.40. Cleveland Clinic, The Power of Fish (Cleveland, 2003), heartcenter/pub/guide/prevention/nutrition/omega3.htm.41. USDA, Economic Research Service, “Briefing room: land use, value, and management: major uses of land” (2002), htm, accessed Dec. 27, 2005.42. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990–1998, EPA 236-R-00-001 (2000), globalwarming.nsf/UniqueKeyLookup/SHSU5BMQ76/$File/2000-inventory.pdf, p. K-8.43. American Society of Agricultural Engineers, Manure Production and Characteristics (St. Joseph, MI, 2002), pp. 687–89.44. K. Richardson and P.A. McKay, “On the farm, chickens come home to roost,” Wall Street Journal Aug. 12, 2005:C1.Argument #1. Less Chronic Disease and Better Overall Health(pp. 17–57)1. J.M. McGinnis and W.H. Foege, “The immediate vs the important,” JAMA (2004) 291:1263–64. Their estimated range for 2000 was 340,000 to 642,000 deaths per year, or 16 to 30 percent of all deaths.2. M.M. Miniño, E. Arias, K.D. Kochanek, et al., “Deaths: final data for 2000,” Natl Vital Stat Rep (2002) 50(15):1–120.3. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly, “Trends in intake of energy and macronutrients: United States, 1971–2000,” MMWR (2004) 53:80–82; and J. Putnam, J. Allshouse, and L.S. Kantor, “U.S. per capita food supply trends: more calories, refined carbohydrates, and fats,” FoodReview (2002) 25(3):2–15.4. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Communications (USDA OC), Agriculture Fact Book 2001–2002 (2003), USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA NASS), Milk Production, Disposition, and Income 2002 Summary (Washington, DC, 2003), p. 2; USDA NASS, Poultry Slaughter 2002 Annual Summary (Washington, DC, 2003), p. 2; USDA NASS, Livestock Slaughter 2002 Summary (Washington, DC, 2003), pp. 35, 41, 49; USDA NASS, Chickens and Eggs 2003 Summary (Washington, DC, 2004), p. 2; and USDA, Economic Research Service (USDA ERS), Food Availability database, FoodAvailQueriable.aspx#midForm.6. USDA ERS, Food Availability (Per Capita) (2005), FoodAvailIndex.htm.7. USDA OC, Agriculture Fact Book.8. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture (DHHS/USDA), Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2005), gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/document/pdf/DGA2005.9. P.A. Cotton, A.F. Subar, J.E. Friday, et al., “Dietary sources of nutrients among US adults, 1994 to 1996,” J Am Diet Assoc (2004) 104:921–30. Food consumption data from
  • Notes • 185 USDA Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS), Food Surveys Research Group, Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals 1994–1996, bhnrc/foodsurvey/home.htm.10. A. Keys, J.T. Anderson, and F. Grande, “Serum cholesterol response to changes in the diet. IV. Particular saturated fatty acids in the diet,” Metabolism (1965) 65:776–87; D.M. Hegsted, L.M. Ausman, J.A. Johnson, et al., “Dietary fat and serum lipids: an evaluation of the experimental data,” Am J Clin Nutr (1993) 57:875–83; R.P. Mensink and M.B. Katan, “Effect of dietary fatty acids on serum lipids and lipoproteins: a meta-analysis of 27 trials,” Arterioscler Thromb (1992) 12:911–19; and P.M. Kris-Etherton, A.E. Binkoski, G. Zhao, et al., “Dietary fat: assessing the evidence in support of a moderate-fat diet; the benchmark based on lipoprotein metabolism,” Proc Nutr Soc (2002) 61(2):287–98.11. J.E. Manson, H. Tosteson, P.M. Ridker, et al., “The primary prevention of myocardial infarction,” N Engl J Med (1992) 326:1406–16.12. M. Jacobson and H. D’Angelo, “Heart disease deaths caused by animal foods,” unpublished report (Washington, DC: Center for Science in the Public Interest [CSPI], 2006). Estimates based on the four different research groups’ formulas ranged from 30,000 to 107,000 deaths per year.13. The $1 trillion sum is the present value discounted at 3 percent. It is based on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) estimate of the health and economic benefits of lowering dietary levels of trans fat, which have adverse effects on blood cholesterol levels and cause heart disease. See FDA, “Nutrition labeling,” Fed Reg (1999) 64:62746–825.14. American Heart Association (AHA), Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics: 2005 Update (Dallas, 2005), p. 51; and L.S. Longwell, communications department, IMS Health, Inc., response to CSPI data request, Oct. 25, 2004.15. Longwell, response.16. American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts and Figures, 2004 (Atlanta, 2004); AHA, Heart Disease and Stroke; American Diabetes Association, “Economic costs of diabetes in the U.S. in 2002,” Diabetes Care (2003) 26:917–32; and E. Frazão, America’s Eating Habits: Changes and Consequences, Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 750 (1999), www.ers. N.D. Barnard, A. Nicholson, and J.L. Howard, “The medical costs attributable to meat consumption,” Prev Med (1995) 24:646–55 (adjusted to 2005 dollars by CSPI).18. A.M. Wolf and G.A. Colditz, “Social and economic effects of body weight in the United States,” Am J Clin Nutr (1996) 63(suppl):466S–69S (adjusted to 2005 dollars by CSPI); and E.A. Finkelstein, I.C. Fiebelkorn, and G. Wang, “State-level estimates of annual medical expenditures attributable to obesity,” Obes Res (2004) 12:18–24.19. USDA ERS, Data: Food Guide Pyramid Servings (2005), foodconsumption/FoodGuideIndex.htm#servings.20. J.F. Guthrie, Understanding Fruit and Vegetable Choices: Economic and Behavioral Influences, Agriculture Information Bulletin 792-1, www.ers.usda. gov/publications/aib792/aib792-1/aib792-1.pdf.21. USDA ERS, Food Availability.22. G.E. Fraser, Diet, Life Expectancy, and Chronic Disease: Studies of Seventh-day Adventists and Other Vegetarians (New York: Oxford, 2003), p. 5; G.E. Fraser, “Associations between diet and cancer, ischemic heart disease, and all-cause mortality in non-Hispanic white California Seventh-day Adventists, Am J Clin Nutr (1999) 70(suppl):532S–38S; G.E. Fraser, P.W. Dysinger, C. Best, et al., “IHD risk factors in middle-aged Seventh-day Adventist men and their neighbors,” Am J Epidemiol (1987) 126:638–46.23. Fraser, Dysinger, Best, et al., “IHD risk factors.”24. Fraser, Diet, p. 13.
  • 186 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet25. Fraser, “Associations.”26. Fraser, “Associations.”27. G.E. Fraser, J. Sabate, W.L. Beeson, et al., “A possible protective effect of nut consumption on risk of coronary heart disease: the Adventist Health Study,” Arch Intern Med (1992) 152:1416–24.28. Fraser, “Associations.”29. J. Berkel and F. de Waard, “Mortality pattern and life expectancy of Seventh-day Adventists in the Netherlands,” Int J Epidemiol (1983) 12(4):455–59, cited in Fraser, Diet, p. 23.30. M.L. Toohey, M.A. Haris, D. Williams, et al., “Cardiovascular disease risk factors are lower in African-American vegans compared to lacto-ovo vegetarians,” J Am Coll Nutr (1998) 17:425–34.31. Fraser, “Associations.”32. Fraser, Diet, pp. 141–42.33. N. Brathwaite, H.S. Fraser, N. Modeste, et al., “Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and vegetarian status among Seventh-day Adventists in Barbados: preliminary results,” Ethn Dis (2003) 13:34–9; and Fraser, “Associations.”34. Fraser, “Associations.”35. Fraser, “Associations.”36. E.H. Haddad and J.S. Tanzman, “What do vegetarians in the United States eat?,” Am J Clin Nutr (2003) 78(suppl):626S–32S.37. E.T. Kennedy, S.A. Bowman, I.T. Spence, et al., “Popular diets: correlation to health, nutrition, and obesity,” J Am Diet Assoc (2001) 101:411–20.38. G.K. Davey, E.A. Spencer, P.N. Appleby, et al., “EPIC-Oxford lifestyle characteristics and nutrient intakes in a cohort of 33,993 meat-eaters and 31,546 non-meat-eaters in the UK,” Public Health Nutr (2003) 6:259–69.39. P.N. Appleby, M. Thorogood, J.I. Mann, et al., “The Oxford Vegetarian Study: an overview,” Am J Clin Nutr (1999) 70(suppl):525S–31S.40. Appleby et al., “Oxford Vegetarian Study.”41. Appleby et al., “Oxford Vegetarian Study.”42. Appleby et al., “Oxford Vegetarian Study”; and Fraser, Diet, pp. 233–35.43. P.N. Appleby, G.K. Davey, and T.J. Key, “Hypertension and blood pressure among meat eaters, fish eaters, vegetarians and vegans in EPIC-Oxford,” Public Health Nutr (2002) 5:645–54.44. Appleby, Davey, and Key, “Hypertension.”45. Fraser, Diet, p. 220.46. T. Key and G. Davey, “Prevalence of obesity is low in people who do not eat meat,” BMJ (1996) 313:816–17.47. P.N. Appleby, M. Thorogood, and J.I. Mann, “Low body mass index in non-meat eaters: the possible roles of animal fat, dietary fibre and alcohol,” Int J Obesity (1998) 22(5):454–60.48. P.K. Newby, K.L. Tucker, and A. Wolk, “Risk of overweight and obesity among semivegetarian, lactovegetarian, and vegan women,” Am J Clin Nutr (2005) 81:1267–74.49. T.J. Key, G.E. Fraser, M. Thorogood, et al., “Mortality in vegetarians and non-vegetarians: detailed findings from a collaborative analysis of 5 prospective studies,” Am J Clin Nutr (1999) 70(suppl):516S–24S.50. T.J. Key, G.K. Davey, and P.N. Appleby, “Health benefits of a vegetarian diet,” Proc Nutr Soc (1999) 58(2):271–75.
  • Notes • 18751. Appleby, Thorogood, and Mann, “Low body mass index”; and Key, Davey, and Appleby, “Health benefits.”52. Fraser, Diet, pp. 236–38.53. T.T. Fung, W.C. Willett, M.J. Stampfer, et al., “Dietary patterns and the risk of coronary heart disease in women,” Arch Intern Med (2001) 161:1857–62.54. F.B. Hu, E.B. Rimm, M.J. Stampfer, et al., “Prospective study of major dietary patterns and risk of coronary heart disease in men,” Am J Clin Nutr (2000) 72:912–21.55. I.L. Rouse, L.J. Beilin, D.P. Mahoney, et al., “Nutrient intake, blood pressure, serum and urinary prostaglandins and serum thromboxane B2 in a controlled trial with a lacto- ovo-vegetarian diet,” J Hypertens (1986) 4:241–50; and S.E. Sciarrone, M.T. Strahan, L.J. Beilin, et al., “Biochemical and neurohormonal responses to the introduction of a lacto- ovo vegetarian diet,” J Hypertens (1993) 11:849–60.56. Rouse et al., “Nutrient intake”; and L.J. Appel, T.J. Moore, E. Obarzanek, et al., “A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure,” N Engl J Med (1997) 336:1117–24.57. A.M. Lees, A.Y. Mok, R.S. Lees, et al., “Plant sterols as cholesterol-lowering agents: clinical trials in patients with hypercholesterolemia and studies of sterol balance,” Atherosclerosis (1977) 28:325–38; and D.J. Jenkins, T.M. Wolever, A.V. Rao, et al., “Effect on blood lipids of very high intakes of fiber in diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol,” N Engl J Med (1993) 329:21–6.58. D.J. Jenkins, C.W. Kendall, A. Marchie, et al., “Effects of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol- lowering foods vs lovastatin on serum lipids and C-reactive protein,” JAMA (2003) 290:502–10; D.J. Jenkins, C.W. Kendall, A. Marchie, et al., “Direct comparison of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods with a statin in hypercholesterolemic participants,” Am J Clin Nutr (2005) 81(2):380–87; and D.J. Jenkins, C.W. Kendall, A. Marchie, et al., “The effect of combining plant sterols, soy protein, viscous fibers, and almonds in treating hypercholesterolemia,” Metabolism (2003) 52(11):1478–83.59. S.M. Grundy, J.I. Cleeman, B.C.N. Merz, et al., “Implications of recent clinical trials for the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III Guidelines,” Circulation (2004) 110:227–39.60. H.A. Diehl, “Coronary risk reduction through intensive community-based lifestyle intervention: the Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP) experience,” Am J Cardiol (1998) 82(10B):83T–87T.61. D.W. Harsha, P.-H. Lin, E. Obarzanek, et al., “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension: a summary of results,” J Am Diet Assoc (1999) 99(suppl):S53–59; N.M. Karanja, E. Obarzanek, P.-H. Lin, et al., “Descriptive characteristics of the dietary patterns used in the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension trial,” J Am Diet Assoc (1999) 99(suppl): S19–S27; F.M. Sacks, L.P. Svetkey, W.M. Vollmer, et al., “Effects on blood pressure of reduced dietary sodium and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet,” N Engl J Med (2001) 344:3–10; Appel et al., “A clinical trial”; and E. Obarzanek, F.M. Sacks, and W.M. Vollmer, “Effects on blood lipids of a blood pressure-lowering diet: the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) trial,” Am J Clin Nutr (2001) 74(1):80–89.62. M. deLorgeril, P. Salen, J.-L. Martin, et al., “Mediterranean diet, traditional risk factors, and the rate of cardiovascular complications after myocardial infarction: final report of the Lyon Diet Heart Study,” Circulation (1999) 99:779–85.63. A. Leaf, “Dietary prevention of coronary heart disease: the Lyon Diet Heart Study,” Circulation (1999) 99:733–35.64. S.G. Aldana, R.L. Greenlaw, H.A. Diehl, et al., “Effects of an intensive diet and physical activity modification program on the health risks of adults,” J Am Diet Assoc (2005) 105(3):371–81.
  • 188 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet65. D. Ornish, S.E. Brown, L.W. Schenwitz, et al., “Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease?,” Lancet (1990) 336:129–33; and D. Ornish, L.W. Schenwitz, J.H. Billings, et al., “Intensive lifestyle changes for reversal of coronary heart disease,” JAMA (1998) 280:2001–07.66. J. Koertge, G. Weidner, M. Elliott-Eller, et al., “Improvement in medical risk factors and quality of life in women and men with coronary artery disease in the Multicenter Lifestyle Demonstration Project,” Am J Cardiol (2003) 91:1316–22.67. D. Ornish, G. Weidner, W.R. Fair, et al., “Intensive lifestyle changes may affect the progression of prostate cancer,” J Urol (2005) 174:1065–69.68. C.B. Esselstyn Jr., “Updating a 12-year experience with arrest and reversal therapy for coronary heart disease (an overdue requiem for palliative cardiology),” Am J Cardiol (1999) 84(3):339–41; C.B. Esselstyn Jr., “Resolving the coronary artery disease epidemic through plant-based nutrition,” Prev Cardiol (2001) 4:171–77; and “Becoming heart attack proof” (VegSource Interactive, Inc., 2003), Institute of Medicine (IOM), Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients) (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2002), pp. 297–302, 777–87; and Ornish et al., “Intensive lifestyle changes for reversal.”70. R.J. Barnard, T. Jung, and S.B. Inkeles, “Diet and exercise in the treatment of NIDDM: the need for early emphasis,” Diabetes Care (1994) 17:1469–72.71. M.G. Crane and C. Sample, “Regression of diabetic neuropathy with total vegetarian (vegan) diet,” J Nutr Med (1994) 4:431–39.72. American Cancer Society (ACS), “The complete guide – nutrition and physical activity,” Affect_Risks.asp?sitearea=PED; DHHS/USDA, Dietary Guidelines for Americans; and World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization (WHO/FAO), Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases, WHO Technical Report Series 916 (Geneva, 2003).73. H.C. Hung, K.J. Joshipura, R. Jiang, et al., “Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of major chronic disease,” J Natl Cancer Inst (2004) 96:1577–84; S. Liu, I.M. Lee, U. Ajani, et al., “Intake of vegetables rich in carotenoids and risk of coronary heart disease in men: the Physicians’ Health Study,” Int J Epidemiol (2001) 30:130–35; and L.A. Bazzano, J. He, L.G. Ogden, et al., “Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of cardiovascular disease in US adults: the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Epidemiologic Follow-up Study,” Am J Clin Nutr (2002) 76:93–99.74. K.J. Joshipura, F.B. Hu, J.E. Manson, et al., “The effect of fruit and vegetable intake on risk for coronary heart disease,” Ann Intern Med (2001) 134:1106–14; and S. Liu, J.E. Manson, I.M. Lee, et al., “Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: the Women’s Health Study,” Am J Clin Nutr (2000) 72:922–28.75. T.H. Rissanen, S. Voutilainen, J.K. Virtanen, et al., “Low intake of fruits, berries and vegetables is associated with excess mortality in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) Study,” J Nutr (2003) 133:199–204.76. Bazzano et al., “Fruit and vegetable intake.”77. P. Van’t Veer, M.C. Jansen, M. Klerk, et al., “Fruits and vegetables in the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease,” Public Health Nutr (2000) 3:103–07.78. L.M. Steffen, C.H. Kroenke, X. Yu, et al., “Associations of plant food dairy product, and meat intakes with 15-y incidence of elevated blood pressure in young black and white adults: the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study,” Am J Clin Nutr (2005) 82:1169–77; and L. Dauchet, P. Amouyel, and J. Dallongeville, “Fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of stroke: a meta-analysis of cohort studies,” Neurology (2005) 65:1193–97.
  • Notes • 18979. E. Riboli and T. Norat, “Epidemiologic evidence of the protective effect of fruit and vegetables on cancer risk,” Am J Clin Nutr (2003) 78(suppl):559S–69S; T.J. Key, A. Schatzkin, W.C. Willett, et al., “Diet, nutrition, and the prevention of cancer,” Public Health Nutr (2004) 7:187–200; and WHO/FAO, Diet, Nutrition.80. Key et al., “Diet, nutrition”; WHO/FAO, Diet, Nutrition; C.H. van Gils, P.H. Peeters, H.B. Bueno-de-Mesquita, et al., “Consumption of vegetables and fruits and risk of breast cancer,” JAMA (2005) 293:183–93; D. Feskanich, R.G. Ziegler, D.S. Michaud, et al., “Prospective study of fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of lung cancer among men and women,” J Natl Cancer Inst (2000) 92:1812–23; L.E. Voorrips, R.A. Goldbohm, D.T. Verhoeven, et al., “Vegetable and fruit consumption and lung cancer risk in the Netherlands Cohort Study on diet and cancer,” Cancer Causes Control (2001) 11:101–15; S.A. Smith-Warner, D. Spiegelman, S.S. Yaun, et al., “Intake of fruits and vegetables and risk of breast cancer: a pooled analysis of cohort studies,” JAMA (2001) 285:769–76; M.P. Zeegers, R.A. Goldbohm, and P.A. van den Brandt, “Consumption of vegetables and fruits and urothelial cancer incidence: a prospective study,” Cancer Epid Biomarkers Prev (2001) 10:1121–28; and D.S. Michaud, D. Spiegelman, S.K. Clinton, et al., “Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of bladder cancer in a male prospective cohort,” J Natl Cancer Inst (1999) 91:605–13.81. Key et al., “Diet, nutrition”; and WHO/FAO, Diet, Nutrition.82. ACS, “Complete Guide”; DHHS/USDA, Dietary Guidelines for Americans; and WHO/FAO, Diet, Nutrition.83. W.C. Willett, “Harvesting the fruits of research: new guidelines on nutrition and physical activity,” CA Cancer J Clin (2002) 52:66–67.84. B.J. Rolls, J.A. Ello-Martin, and B.C. Tohill, “What can intervention studies tell us about the relationship between fruits and vegetable consumption and weight management?,” Nutr Rev (2004) 62:1–17.85. B.C. Tohill, “Fruit and vegetables and weight management,” articles/fruit_vegetable.ppt.86. B.C. Tohill, J. Seymour, M. Serdula, et al., “What epidemiologic studies tell us about the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and body weight,” Nutr Rev (2004) 62:365–74.87. M.K. Serdula, C. Gillespie, L. Kettel-Khan, et al., “Trends in fruit and vegetable consumption among adults in the United States: behavioral risk factor surveillance system, 1994–2000,” Am J Pub Health (2004) 94:1014–18.88. Rolls, Ello-Martin, and Tohill, “What can intervention studies tell.”89. E.S. Ford and A.H. Mokdad, “Fruit and vegetable consumption and diabetes mellitus incidence among U.S. adults,” Prev Med (2001) 32:33–9; K.L. Tucker, H. Chen, M.T. Hannan, et al., “Bone mineral density and dietary patterns in older adults: the Framingham Osteoporosis Study,” Am J Clin Nutr (2002) 76:245–52; S.A. New, “Intake of fruits and vegetables: implications for bone health,” Proc Nutr Soc (2003) 62:889–99; S.A. New, S.P. Robins, M.K. Campbell, et al., “Dietary influences on bone mass and bone metabolism: further evidence of a positive link between fruit and vegetable consumption and bone health?,” Am J Clin Nutr (2000) 71:142–51; and K.L. Tucker, M.T. Hannan, H. Chen, et al., “Potassium and fruit and vegetables are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women,” Am J Clin Nutr (1999) 69:727–36.90. J.K. Campbell, K. Canene-Adams, B.L. Lindshield, et al., “Tomato phytochemicals and prostate cancer risk,” J Nutr (2004) 134(12 suppl):3486S–92S.91. S. Mannisto, S.A. Smith-Warner, D. Spiegelman, et al., “Dietary carotenoids and risk of lung cancer in a pooled analysis of seven cohort studies,” Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev (2004) 13:40–48.
  • 190 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet92. Michaud et al., “Fruit and vegetable intake.”93. C.S. Johnston, C.A. Taylor, and J.S. Hampl, “More Americans are eating “5 A Day” but intakes of dark green and cruciferous vegetables remain low,” J Nutr (2000) 130:3063–67; and DHHS/USDA, Dietary Guidelines for Americans.94. WHO/FAO, Diet, Nutrition.95. 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report,, part D, sec. 6.96. DHHS/USDA, Dietary Guidelines for Americans.97. USDA OC, Agriculture Fact Book.98. Fraser et al., “A possible protective effect”; D.R. Jacobs Jr., K.A. Meyer, L.H. Kushi, et al., “Whole-grain intake may reduce the risk of ischemic heart disease death in post- menopausal women: the Iowa Women’s Health Study,” Am J Clin Nutr (1998) 68:248–57; S. Liu, M.J. Stampfer, F.B. Hu, et al., “Whole-grain consumption and risk of coronary heart disease: results from the Nurses’ Health Study,” Am J Clin Nutr (1999) 70:412–19; S. Liu, J.E. Manson, M.J. Stampfer, et al., “Whole grain consumption and risk of ischemic stroke in women: a prospective study,” JAMA (2000) 284:1534–40; and J.W. Anderson, “Whole grains protect against atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease,” Proc Nutr Soc (2003) 62:135–42.99. M.A. Murtaugh, D.R. Jacobs Jr., B. Jacob, et al., “Epidemiological support for the protection of whole grains against diabetes,” Proc Nutr Soc (2003) 62:143–49.100. M.A. Pereira, D.R. Jacobs Jr., J.J. Pins, et al., “Effect of whole grains on insulin sensitivity in overweight hyperinsulinemic adults,” Am J Clin Nutr (2002) 75:848–55.101. IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes (Macronutrients), p. 370.102. W.H. Aldoori, E.L. Giovannucci, H.R. Rockett, et al., “A prospective study of dietary fiber types and symptomatic diverticular disease in men,” J Nutr (1998) 128(4):714–19; and IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes (Macronutrients), p. 372.103. Fraser et al., “A possible protective effect”; J. Sabate, G.E. Fraser, K. Burke, et al., “Effects of walnuts on serum lipid levels and blood pressure in normal men,” N Engl J Med (1993) 328: 603–07; L.H. Kushi, A.R. Folsom, R.J. Prineas, et al., “Dietary antioxidant vitamins and death from coronary heart disease in postmenopausal women,” N Engl J Med (1996) 334:1156–62; F.B. Hu, M.J. Stampfer, J.E. Manson, et al., “Frequent nut consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in women: prospective cohort study,” BMJ (1998) 317:1341–45; J. Sabate, “Nut consumption, vegetarian diets, ischemic heart disease risk, and all-cause mortality: evidence from epidemiologic studies,” Am J Clin Nutr (1993) 70(suppl):500S–03S; G.A. Spiller, D.A. Jenkins, O. Bosello, et al., “Nuts and plasma lipids: an almond-based diet lowers LDL-C while preserving HDL-C,” J Am Coll Nutr (1998) 17(3):285–90; and Jenkins et al., “Effects of a dietary portfolio.”104. J. Mukuddem-Petersen, W. Oosthuizen, and J.C. Jerling, “A systematic review of the effects of nuts on blood lipid profiles in humans,” J Nutr (2005) 135:2082–89; P.M. Kris- Etherton, S. Yu-Poth, J. Sabate, et al., “Nuts and their bioactive constituents: effects on serum lipids and other factors that affect disease risk,” Am J Clin Nutr (1999) 70(suppl):504S–11S; Fraser, Diet, p. 257; and FDA, “Qualified health claims: letter of enforcement discretion—nuts and coronary heart disease,” Docket No. 02P-0505 (2003), USDA ERS, Food Availability.106. L.A. Bazzano, J. He, L.G. Ogden, et al., “Legume consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in US men and women,” Arch Intern Med (2001) 161:2573–78.107. J.W. Anderson and A.W. Major, “Pulses and lipaemia, short- and long-term effect potential in the prevention of cardiovascular disease,” Br J Nutr (2002) 88(suppl):S263–71.
  • Notes • 191108. F.M. Sacks, A. Lichtenstein, L. Van Horn, et al., “Soy protein, isoflavones, and cardiovascular health: an American Heart Association science advisory for professionals from the Nutrition Committee,” Circulation (2006) 113:1034–44.109. P.H. Peeters, L. Boker Keinan, Y.T. van der Schouw, et al., “Phytoestrogens and breast cancer risk: review of the epidemiological evidence,” Breast Cancer Res Trea (2003) 77:171– 83; M.J. Messina, “Emerging evidence on the role of soy in reducing prostate cancer risk,” Nutr Rev (2003) 61:117–31; and Key et al., “Diet, nutrition.”110. S. Kreijkamp-Kaspers, L. Kok, D.E. Grobbee, et al., “Effect of soy protein containing isoflavones on cognitive function, bone mineral density, and plasma lipids in postmenopausal women,” JAMA (2004) 292:65–74.111. Bazzano et al., “Legume consumption.”112. I. Darmadi-Blackberry, M.L. Wahlqvist, A. Kouris-Blazos, et al., “Legumes: the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people of different ethnicities,” Asia Pac J Clin Nutr (2004) 6:217–20.113. Cotton et al., “Dietary sources of nutrients.” Note that “ice cream” also includes sherbet and frozen yogurt, and “cakes, cookies” also includes quick breads and donuts.114. IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes (Macronutrients), p. 422.115. These studies link saturated fat to diabetes: F.B. Hu, R.M. van Dam, and S. Liu, “Diet and risk of type II diabetes: the role of types of fat and carbohydrate,” Diabetologia (2001) 44:805–17; E.J.M. Feskens, S.M. Virtanen, L. Rasanen, et al., “Dietary factors determining diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance: a 20-year follow-up of the Finnish and Dutch cohorts of the Seven Countries Study,” Diabetes Care (1995) 18:1104–12; and D.R. Parker, S.T. Weiss, R. Troisi, et al., “Relationship of dietary saturated fatty acids and body habitus to serum insulin concentrations: the Normative Aging Study,” Am J Clin Nutr (1993) 58:129–36. Other studies find no such links: M.B. Costa, S.R.G. Ferreira, L.J. Franco, et al., “Dietary patterns in a high-risk population for glucose intolerance,” J Epidemiol (2000) 10:111–17; and J. Salmeron, F.B. Hu, E. Manson, et al., “Dietary fat intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in women,” Am J Clin Nutr (2001) 73:1019–26.116. IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes (Macronutrients), pp. 422–23.117. DHHS/USDA, Dietary Guidelines for Americans.118. IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes (Macronutrients), p. 542; M. Tanasescu, E. Cho, J.E. Manson, and F.B. Hu, “Dietary fat and cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular disease,” Am J Clin Nutr (2004) 79:999–1005; and A. Ascherio, E.B. Rimm, E.L. Giovannucci, et al., “Dietary fat and risk of coronary heart disease in men: cohort follow up study in the United States,” BMJ (1996) 313:84–90.119. IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes (Macronutrients), p. 1058.120. DHHS/USDA, Dietary Guidelines for Americans.121. F.M. Sacks, A. Donner, W.P. Castelli, et al., “Effect of ingestion of meat on plasma cholesterol of vegetarians,” JAMA (1981) 246:640–44.122. Fraser, “Associations.”123. Sacks et al., “Effect of ingestion”; A. Ascherio, C. Hennekens, W.C. Willett, et al., “Prospective study of nutritional factors, blood pressure, and hypertension among US women,” Hypertension (1996) 27:1065–72; and Steffen et al., “Associations of plant food.”124. ACS, “Complete guide”; and WHO/FAO, Diet, Nutrition.125. A. Chao, M.J. Thun, C.J. Connell, et al., “Meat consumption and risk of colorectal cancer,” JAMA (2005) 293:172–82.126. Fraser, “Associations.”
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  • Notes • 193143. T. Norat and E. Riboli, “Dairy products and colorectal cancer: a review of possible mechanisms and epidemiological evidence,” Eur J Clin Nutr (2003) 57:1–17; and E. Cho, S.A. Smith-Warner, D. Spiegelman, et al., “Dairy foods, calcium, and colorectal cancer: a pooled analysis of 10 cohort studies,” J Natl Cancer Inst (2004) 96:1015–22.144. M.-H. Shin, M.D. Holmes, S.E. Hankinson, et al., “Intake of dairy products, calcium, and vitamin D and risk of breast cancer,” J Natl Cancer Inst (2002) 94:1301–11; M.L. McCullough, C. Rodriguez, W.R. Diver, et al., “Dairy, calcium, and vitamin D intake and postmenopausal breast cancer risk in the Cancer Prevention Study II nutrition cohort,” Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev (2005) 14(12):2898–904; and P.G. Moorman and P.D. Terry, “Consumption of dairy products and the risk of breast cancer: a review of the literature,” Am J Clin Nutr (2004) 80:5–14.145. Cotton et al., “Dietary sources of nutrients.”146. 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, Report, part D, sec. 4.147. IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes (Macronutrients), p. 563.148. Appleby et al., “Oxford Vegetarian Study.”149. R.M. Weggemans, P.L. Zock, and M.B. Katan, “Dietary cholesterol from eggs increases the ratio of total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in humans: a meta- analysis,” Am J Clin Nutr (2001) 73:885–91.150. F.B. Hu, M.J. Stampfer, E.B. Rimm, et al., “A prospective study of egg consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease in men and women,” JAMA (1999) 281:1387–94.151. K. He, Y. Song, M.L. Daviglus, et al., “Accumulated evidence on fish consumption and coronary heart disease mortality: a meta-analysis of cohort studies,” Circulation (2004) 109:2705–11.152. P.M. Kris-Etherton, W.S. Harris, and L.J. Appel, “Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease: new recommendations from the American Heart Association,” Arterioscl Thromb Vasc Biol (2003) 23:151–52; and IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes (Macronutrients), pp. 828–29.153. WHO/FAO, Diet, Nutrition; P.M. Kris-Etherton, W.S. Harris, and L.J. Appel, “American Heart Association Scientific Statement: fish consumption, fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids, and cardiovascular disease,” Circulation (2002) 106:2747–57; DHHS/USDA, Dietary Guidelines for Americans; and 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, Report.154. Norat et al., “Meat, fish, and colorectal cancer risk.”155. M.F. Leitzmann, M.J. Stampfer, D.C. Michaud, et al., “Dietary intake of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids and the risk of prostate cancer,” Am J Clin Nutr (2004) 80:204–16; K. Augustsson, D.S. Michaud, E.B. Rimm, et al., “A prospective study of intake of fish and marine fatty acids and prostate cancer,” Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev (2003) 12:64–7; P. Terry, P. Lichtenstein, M. Feychting, et al., “Fatty fish consumption and risk of prostate cancer,” Lancet (2001) 357:1764–6; and A.E. Norrish, C.M. Skeaff, G.L. Arribas, et al., “Prostate cancer risk and consumption of fish oils: a dietary biomarker-based case-control study,” Br J Cancer (1999) 81:1238–42.156. IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes (Macronutrients), p. 348.157. IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes (Macronutrients), pp. 351–61; and American Dietetic Association, “Health implications of dietary fiber,” J Am Diet Assoc (2002) 102:993–1000.158. IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes (Macronutrients), pp. 370–72; and Aldoori et al., “Dietary fiber types.”159. B. Trock, E. Lanza, and P. Greenwald, “Dietary fiber, vegetables, and colon cancer: critical review and meta-analyses of the epidemiologic evidence,” J Natl Cancer Inst (1990) 82:650–61.160. Epidemiology study: Y. Park, D.J. Hunter, D. Spiegelman, et al., “Dietary fiber intake and risk of colon cancer: a pooled analysis of prospective cohort studies,” JAMA (2005)
  • 194 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet 294:2849–57. Intervention studies: D.S. Alberts, M.E. Martinez, D.J. Roe, et al.,”Lack of effect of a high-fiber cereal supplement on the recurrence of colorectal adenomas,” N Engl J Med (2000) 342:1156–62; C. Bonithon-Kopp, O. Kronborg, A. Giacosa, et al., “Calcium and fibre supplementation in prevention of colorectal adenoma recurrence: a randomized intervention trial,” Lancet (2000) 356:1300–06; and A. Schatzkin, E. Lanza, D. Corle, et al., “Lack of effect of a low-fat, high-fiber diet on the recurrence of colorectal adenomas,” N Engl J Med (2000) 342:1149–55.161. IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes (Macronutrients), pp. 377–80; and M.D. Holmes, S. Liu, S.E. Hankinson, et al., “Dietary carbohydrates, fiber, and breast cancer risk,” Am J Epidemiol (2004) 159:732–39.162. IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes (Macronutrients), pp. 362–69.163. E.B. Rimm, A. Ascherio, E. Giovannucci, et al., “Vegetable, fruit, and cereal fiber intake and risk of coronary heart disease among men,” JAMA (1996) 275:447–51.164. L.A. Bazzano, J. He, L.G. Ogden, et al., “Dietary fiber intake and reduced risk of coronary heart disease in US men and women,” Arch Intern Med (2003) 163:1897–904.165. A. Wolk, J.E. Manson, M.J. Stampfer, et al., “Long-term intake of dietary fiber and decreased risk of coronary heart disease among women,” JAMA (1999) 281:1998–2004.166. M.A. Pereira, E. O’Reily, K. Augustsson, et al., “Dietary fiber and risk of coronary heart disease: a pooled analysis of cohort studies,” Arch Intern Med (2004) 164:370–76.167. D.S. Ludwig, M.A. Pereira, C.H. Kroenke, et al., “Dietary fiber, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease risk factors in young adults,” JAMA (1999) 282:1539–46.168. P. Insel, R.E. Turner, and D. Ross, Nutrition, 2nd ed. (Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 2004).169. IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes (Macronutrients), p. 348.170. WHO/FAO, Diet, Nutrition; M.A. Pereira and D.S. Ludwig, “Dietary fiber and body-weight regulation: observations and mechanisms,” Pediatr Clin North Am (2001) 48:969–80; and N.C. Howarth, E. Saltzman, and S.B. Roberts, “Dietary fiber and weight regulation,” Nutr Rev (2001) 59:129–39.171. J.H. Cummings, “The effect of dietary fiber on fecal weight and composition,” in G.A. Spiller, ed., CRC Handbook of Dietary Fiber in Human Nutrition (Boca Raton: CRC Press, 1993), pp. 263–349; cited in IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes (Macronutrients), p. 371.172. IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes (Macronutrients), pp. 389, 1036.173. E.H. Haddad, L.S. Berk, J.D. Kettering, et al., “Dietary intake and biochemical, hematologic, and immune status of vegans compared with non-vegetarians,” Am J Clin Nutr (1999) 70(suppl):586S–93S; M.S. Donaldson, “Food and nutrient intakes of Hallelujah vegetarians,” Nutr Food Sci (2001) 31:293–303; N.E. Allen, P.N. Appleby, G.K. Davey, et al., “The associations of diet with serum insulin-like growth factor I and its main binding proteins in 292 women meat-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans,” Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev (2002) 11:1441–48; Appleby, Davey, and Key, “Hypertension”; Davey et al., “EPIC-Oxford”; and E.A. Spencer, P.N. Appleby, G.K. Davey, et al., “Diet and body mass index in 38,000 EPIC-Oxford meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans,” Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord (2003) 27:728–34.174. IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 1998), pp. 260–66.175. IOM, Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, pp. 265, 269; and Cotton et al., “Dietary sources of nutrients.”176. E.P. Quinlivan and J.F. Gregory III, “Effect of food fortification on folic acid intake in the United States,” Am J Clin Nutr (2003) 77:221–25.
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  • Notes • 197 exposed pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Health Study,” Environ Health Perspect (2005) 113:49–54.211. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals (Atlanta, 2001), p. 35; and EPA, “Organophosphate pesticides in food—a primer on reassessment of residue limits” (1999), primer.htm.212. USDA NASS, 2001 Field Crops Summary; USDA NASS, Agricultural Statistics 2003; and National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, National pesticide use database,, accessed Jan. 30, 2006.213. J.E. Davies, “Neurotoxic concerns of human pesticide exposures,” Am J Ind Med (1990) 18:327–31; and L. Rosenstock, W. Daniell, S. Barnhart, et al., “Chronic neuropsychological sequelae of occupational exposure to organophosphate insecticides,” Am J Ind Med (1990) 18:321–25.214. J.A. Thomas, “Toxic responses of the reproductive system,” in C.D. Klassen, ed., Casarett & Doull’s Toxicology, 5th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996), pp. 547–82.215. National Research Council, Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 1993); and D. Pimentel and A. Greiner, “Environmental and socioeconomic costs of pesticide use,” in D. Pimentel, ed., Techniques for Reducing Pesticide Use (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1997), p. 54.216. R. Repetto and S.S. Baliga, Pesticides and the Immune System: The Public Health Risks (Washington, DC: World Resources Institute, 1996).217. Public Health Service, Carcinogens.218. Environmental Working Group, PCBs in Farmed Salmon: Factory Methods, Unusual Results (2003), D. Schardt, “Farmed salmon under fire,” Nutrition Action Healthletter (2004) 31(5):9–11.220. A. Schecter, O. Papke, K. Tung, et al., “Polybrominated diphenyl ethers contamination of United States food,” Environ Sci Technol (2005) 38:5306–11.221. EPA, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, “Polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) significant new use rule (SNUR) questions and answers,” pbde/pubs/qanda.htm, accessed Aug. 15, 2005.222. EPA, “What you need to know about mercury in fish and shellfish,” waterscience/fishadvice/advice.html, accessed Mar. 30, 2005; and “Mercury in tuna: new safety concerns,” Consumer Reports July 2006.223. R.J. Deckelbaum, E.A. Fisher, M. Winston, et al., “Summary of a scientific conference on preventive nutrition: pediatrics to geriatrics,” Circulation (1999) 100:450–56; and ACS, “Unified dietary guidelines” (1999), 1x_Unified_Dietary_Guidelines.asp.Argument #2. Less Foodborne Illness (pp. 59–72)1. P.S. Mead, L. Slutsker, V. Dietz, et al., “Food-related illness and death in the United States,” Emerging Infectious Diseases (1999) 5:607–25; and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service (USDA ERS), Economics of Food-borne Disease (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2003).2. Mead et al., “Food-related illness.”3. Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Outbreak Alert! (2005), foodsafety/outbreak_report.html.
  • 198 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet4. C. Sugarman, “Rising fears over food safety: battling the hidden hazard of bacterial contamination,” Washington Post July 23, 1986:E1; and J. Ackerman, “Food: how safe? How altered?,” Nat Geog May 2002:2–50.5. CSPI, Outbreak Alert!6. “How safe is that burger?,” Consumer Reports Nov. 2002:29.7. “Of birds and bacteria,” Consumer Reports Jan. 2003, food/chicken-safety-103/overview.htm.8. A. Hingley, Campylobacter: Low Profile Bug Is Food Poisoning Leader (U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 1999), M.F. Jacobson and C. Smith Dewaal, “Egg safety: are there cracks in the federal food safety system?,” testimony before the Senate Committee on Government Affairs, July 1, 1999, M. Helms, P. Vastrup, P. Gerner-Smidt, et al., “Short and long term mortality associated with foodborne bacterial gastrointestinal infections: registry-based study,” BMJ (2003) 326:357.11. CSPI, “Kevin’s law,” brochure (2001), G. Manning, “Going whole hog for farm security,” USA Today Apr. 3, 2003:9D.13. R. Tauxe, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases Branch, appearing on “Modern Meat,” Frontline, Apr. 18, 2002.14. CSPI, Outbreak Alert!15. Ackerman, “Food.”16. E.B. Solomon, S. Yaron, K.R. Matthews, et al., “Transmission of Escherichia coli O157: H7 from contaminated manure and irrigation water to lettuce plant tissue and its subsequent internalization,” Appl Environ Microbiol (2002) 68:397–400; and P. Belluck and C. Drew, “Tracing bout of illness to small lettuce farm,” New York Times Jan. 5, 1998:A1.17. P. Brasher, “Record recalls hit meat industry,” Des Moines Register Dec. 8, 2002:1A; T. Breuer, D.H. Benkel, R.L. Shapiro, et al., “A multistate outbreak of Escherichia coli O157: H7 infections linked to alfalfa sprouts grown from contaminated seeds,” Emerg Infect Dis (2001) 7:977–82; and B. Allen, “From the editor,” Nat Geog May 2002:1.18. “Epidemiologic notes and reports multistate outbreak of Salmonella poona infections: United States and Canada, 1991,” MMWR (1991) 40(32):549–52; and Associated Press, “Kale, turnip greens recalled,” Dec. 26, 2002.19. A. Nunez-Delgado, E. Lopez-Periago, F. Diaz-Fierros Vigueira, et al., “Chloride, sodium, potassium and faecal bacteria levels in surface runoff and subsurface percolates from grassland plots amended with cattle slurry,” Bioresour Technol (2002) 82:261–71; U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS), Cryptosporidium and Giardia in Beef Calves (Fort Collins, CO, 2001), beefcowcalf/chapa/ChapaCrypto.pdf; and I.V. Wesley, S.J. Wells, K.M. Harmon, et al., “Fecal shedding of Campylobacter and Arcobacter spp. in dairy cattle,” Appl Environ Microbiol (2000) 66:1994–2000.20. USDA APHIS, Info Sheet: Salmonella in United States Feedlots (2001), vs/ceah/ncahs/nahms/feedlot/feedlot99/FD99salmonella.pdf; and USDA APHIS, Info Sheet: Escherichia coli O157 in United States Feedlots (2001), ncahs/nahms/feedlot/feedlot99/FD99ecoli.pdf.21. S.H. Lee, D.A. Levy, G.F. Craun, et al., “Surveillance for waterborne-disease outbreaks: United States, 1999–2000,” MMWR (2002) 51:1–47.22. I.D. Ogden, D.R. Fenlon, A.J. Vinten, et al., “The fate of Escherichia coli O157 in soil and its potential to contaminate drinking water,” Int J Food Microbiol (2001) 66:111–7; and
  • Notes • 199 S.G. Jackson, R.B. Goodbrand, R.P. Johnson, et al., “Escherichia coli O157:H7 diarrhoea associated with well water and infected cattle on an Ontario farm,” Epidemiol Infect (1998) 120:17–20.23. Lee et al., “Surveillance.”24. A.J. Lung, C.M. Lin, J.M. Kim, et al., “Destruction of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella enteritidis in cow manure composting,” J Food Prot (2001) 64:1309–14.25. I.T. Kudva, K. Blanch, and C.J. Hovde, “Analysis of Escherichia coli O157:H7 survival in ovine or bovine manure and manure slurry,” Appl Environ Microbiol (1998) 64:3166–74.26. E.E. Natvig, S.C. Ingham, B.H. Ingham, et al., “Salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium and Escherichia coli contamination of root and leaf vegetables grown in soils with incorporated bovine manure,” Appl Environ Microbiol (2002) 68:2737–44.27. Kudva, Blanch, and Hovde, “Escherichia coli O157:H7 survival.”28. M.E. Ensminger, Animal Science, 9th ed. (Danville, IL: Interstate Publishing, 1991), pp. 31–32.29. L. Saif, “Panel dialogue: challenges faced and met in research on food health,” National Academies Workshop, Exploring a Vision: Integrating Knowledge for Food and Health, June 9, 2003, Washington, DC.30. J.A. Zahn, “Evidence for transfer of tylosin and tylosin-resistant bacteria in air from swine production facilities using sub-therapeutic concentrations of tylan in feed,” presentation at International Animal Agriculture and Food Science Conference, July 24–28, 2001, Indianapolis.31. B.Z. Predicala, J.E. Urban, R.G. Maghirang, et al., “Assessment of bioaerosols in swine barns by filtration and impaction,” Curr Microbiol (2002) 44:136–40.32. Appearing on Morning Edition, Oct. 10, 2005, National Public Radio, D.J. Alexander and I.H. Brown, “Recent zoonoses caused by influenza A viruses,” Rev Sci Tech (2000) 19:197–225; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Infectious Diseases (CDC NCID), The Influenza (Flu) Viruses (2003),; and World Health Organization (WHO), Avian Influenza: Assessing the Pandemic Threat (2005), H5N1-9reduit.pdf.34. CDC NCID, Influenza (Flu) Viruses.35. G. Kolata, Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic (Darby, PA: Diane Publishing Co, 2001).36. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), “What is an influenza pandemic?,”, accessed June 4, 2006; Alexander and Brown, “Recent zoonoses”; CDC, “Information about influenza epidemics,”, accessed Nov. 22, 2005; and R. Stein, “Infections now more widespread,” Washington Post June 15, 2003:A1.37. T.K. Taubenberger, A.H. Reid, R.M. Lourens, et al., “Characterization of the 1918 influenza virus polymerase genes,” Nature (2005) 437:889–93; and L.K. Altman, “New microbes could become new norm,” New York Times Mar. 9, 2004:D6.38. B.W.J. Mahy and C.C. Brown, “Emerging zoonoses: crossing the species barrier,” Rev Sci Tech (2000) 19:33–40; J. Taylor, “Hong Kong watching for bird flu,” Australian Broadcasting News Feb. 2, 2004,; B. Wuethrich, “Chasing the fickle swine flu,” Science (2003) 299:1502–05; Health, Welfare, and Food Bureau of Hong Kong, “Preventive and contingency measures to combat avian influenza in Hong Kong” (2004), M. Mellon, C. Benbrook, and K. Benbrook, Hogging It (Cambridge, MA: UCS Publications, 2001).
  • 200 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet40. M. Swartz, “Human diseases caused by foodborne pathogens of animal origin,” Clin Infect Dis (2002) 34(3):S111–22; and S.B. Levy, G.B. FitzGerald, and A.B. Macone, “Changes in intestinal flora of farm personnel after introduction of a tetracycline-supplemented feed on a farm,” New Engl J Med (1976) 295:583–88.41. U.S. Government Accountability Office, Antibiotic Resistance: Federal Agencies Need to Better Focus Efforts to Address Risk to Humans from Antibiotic Use in Animals, Report No. GAO-04-490 (2004),, appendix VII: Comments from the Department of Health and Human Services.42. M. Barza and K. Travers, “Excess infections due to antimicrobial resistance: the attributable fraction,” Clin Infect Dis (2002) 34(3):S126–30.43. D.G. White, S. Zhao, R. Sudler, et al., “The isolation of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella from retail ground meats,” New Engl J Med (2001) 345:1147–53.44. S.D. Holmberg, M.T. Osterholm, K.A. Senger, et al., “Drug-resistant Salmonella from animals fed antimicrobials,” New Engl J Med (1984) 311(10):617–22; also see T.F. O’Brien, J.D. Hopkins, E.S. Gilleece, et al., “Molecular epidemiology of antibiotic resistance in Salmonella from animals and human beings in the United States,” New Engl J Med (1982) 307(1):1–6.45. CDC, Human Isolates Final Report, 2002: National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System for Enteric Bacteria (NARMS) (2004), 2002ANNUALREPORTFINAL.pdf.46. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Enroflaxin for poultry; opportunity for hearing,” Docket No. 00N-1571, Fed Reg (2000) 65(211):64954–65, 98fr/103100a.htm.47. FAAIR Scientific Advisory Panel, “Select findings and conclusions,” Clin Infect Dis (2002) 34(Suppl 3):S73–75.48. A.W. Mathews and Z. Goldfarb, “FDA bans use of antibiotic in poultry,” Wall Street Journal July 29, 2005:B1.49. Animal Health Institute, “The antibiotics debate” (2004), index.asp, accessed May 2, 2005.50. WHO, Global Principles for the Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance in Animals Intended for Food (Geneva, 2001), CSR_APH_2000.4.pdf; K.M. Shea and the Committee on Environmental Health and the Committee on Infectious Diseases, “Nontherapeutic uses of antimicrobial agents in animal agriculture: implications for pediatrics,” Pediatrics (2004) 114(3):862– 68; Institute of Medicine, Microbial Threats to Human Health: Emergence, Detection, and Response (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2003), p. 208; see www. for in-depth information about antibiotic resistance. The Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2005 is S.742 and H.R. 2562.51. National Research Council, The Use of Drugs in Food Animals, Benefits and Risks (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2002), p. 157.52. European Union, “Ban on antibiotics as growth promoters in animal feed enters into effect,” press release, Dec. 22, 2005.53. J. Callesen, “Effects of termination of AGP use on pig welfare and productivity,” in WHO, Working Papers from the International Invitational Symposium: Beyond Antimicrobial Growth Promoters in Food Animal Production (Nov. 6–9, 2002, Foulum, Denmark), www. WHO, Working Papers,, p. 18; F.M. Aarestrup, “Effect of abolishment of the use of antimicrobial agents for growth promotion on occurrence of antimicrobial resistance in fecal enterococci from food animals in Denmark,” Antimicrob Agents Chemother (2001) 45:2056–59; and M.C. Evans
  • Notes • 201 and H.C. Wegener, “Antimicrobial growth promoters and Salmonella spp., Campylobacter spp. in poultry and swine, Denmark,” Emerg Infect Dis (2003) 9(4):489–92.55. Danish Institute for Food and Veterinary Research, DANMAP 2004: Use of Antimicrobial Agents and Occurrence of Antimicrobial Resistance in Bacteria from Food Animals, Foods and Humans in Denmark (2005), Danmap/Danmap_2004.pdf, figure 2; and WHO, Impacts of Antimicrobial Growth Promoter Termination in Denmark: The WHO International Review Panel’s Evaluation of the Termination of the Use of Antimicrobial Growth Promoters in Denmark (2003), en/Expertsreportgrowthpromoterdenmark.pdf, pp. 41–44.56. M. Burros, “Poultry industry quietly cuts back on antibiotic use,” New York Times Feb. 10, 2002:A1; E. Weise, “‘Natural’ chickens take flight: four top producers end use of antibiotics,” USA Today Jan. 24, 2006:5D; and Iowa Pork Producers Association, “Proposed resolution number 2004–5: feeding of growth promotant antibiotics” (2004), Animal Health Institute, “Antibiotic use in animals rises in 2004,” news release, June 27, 2005, D. Schuettler, “Scientists fear bird flu could trigger pandemic: global action must be taken immediately, conference told,” National Post (Reuters) Feb 24, 2005:A16.59. CDC, “Recent avian influenza outbreaks in Asia,” asia.htm, accessed Mar. 3, 2005.60. S. Leahy, “Bird flu defeated—at high cost,” Inter Press News Service Agency, Aug. 27, 2004, D. Milbank, “Capitol Hill flu briefing was no trick, and no treat,” Washington Post Oct. 13, 2005:A2.62. CSPI, Outbreak Alert!Argument #3. Better Soil (pp. 73–85)1. C. Niskanen, “Trout in troubled waters: shifts in land use in southeast Minnesota are causing sediment damage to streams,” St. Paul Pioneer Press Apr. 17, 2005:7G.2. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service (USDA ERS), “Briefing room: land use, value, and management: major uses of land” (2002), Briefing/LandUse/majorlandusechapter.htm, accessed May 2, 2003.3. G. Wuerthner, freelance biologist and former employee of U.S. Bureau of Land Management, email to Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Sept. 16, 2004.4. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS), National Resources Inventory 2001 NRI: Soil Erosion (2003), land/nri01/erosion.pdf.5. USDA ERS, Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators (Washington, DC, 2003), p. 4.2-15.6. M. Al-Kaisi, “Soil erosion and crop productivity: topsoil thickness” (Ames, IA: Iowa State University, 2001), html.7. The 37 percent figure is from United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Environment Programme, World Bank, and World Resources Institute, World Resources 2000–2001: People and Ecosystems—The Fraying Web of Life (Washington, DC, 2001), pp.  258–59.8. USDA ERS, Agricultural Resources, pp. 4.2-14, 15.9. USDA ERS, Agricultural Resources, pp. 4.2-14, 15.
  • 202 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet10. USDA ERS, Soil, Nutrient and Water Management Systems Used in U.S. Corn Production (Washington, DC, 2002), p. 9.11. USDA ERS, Agricultural Resources, pp. 4.2-14, 15.12. USDA ERS, Summary Report 1997 National Resources Inventory (Washington, DC, 2000), pp. 51, 57. Much of the data on soil erosion in this chapter are adapted from that report. Although the 2002 Inventory has been published, it is not as exhaustive as the 1997 report, and USDA maintains that data from the 1997 report are more reliable and consistent. For further explanation, see USDA ERS, Summary Report, pp. 58–95. USDA NRCS estimates that water erosion impairs crop productivity on about 65 million acres, and wind erosion impairs productivity on 48 million acres. Some of that land experiences both types of erosion. Current national data do not allow distinguishing the extent of erosion related to different crops. If those data were available, one could estimate the erosion resulting from animal agriculture.14. USDA NRCS, Managing Soil Organic Matter: The Key to Air and Water Quality (2003), P. Sullivan, Overview of Cover Crops and Green Manures: Fundamentals of Sustainable Agriculture (National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, 2003), http://attra. USDA ERS, Summary Report, pp. 58–59.17. USDA NRCS, “What is topsoil worth?,” matter/som_d.html, accessed Dec. 26, 2005.18. W.R. Osterkamp, hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey, email to CSPI, Apr. 25, 2003.19. USDA NRCS, Managing Soil Organic Matter.20. A. Fletcher, “Soil erosion could devastate food sector” (2006), www.foodnavigator. com/news/ng.asp?n=66605-soil-nutrients-crops.21. USDA Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS), “Technologies for management of arid rangelands,” research project description (2001), publications/Publications.htm?seq_no_115=142788; J. Daniel, Grazinglands Research Laboratory, USDA ARS, email to CSPI, Apr. 28, 2003; and J.A. Daniel and W.A. Phillips, “Impacts of grazing strategies on soil compaction,” paper presented at American Society of Agricultural Engineers 2000 Summer Meeting, Milwaukee, July 9–12, 2000.22. A.J. Jones, R.D. Grisso, and C.A. Shapiro, “Soil compaction … fact and fiction: common questions and their answers” (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension Service, 1988), J.A. Daniel, P. Kenneth, W. Altom, et al., “Long-term grazing density impacts on soil compaction,” Trans ASAE (2002) 45:1911–15.24. U.S. Geological Survey, “An introduction to biological soil crusts,” crust101.htm, accessed June 17, 2004.25. J. Belsky and J.L. Gelbard, “Comrades in harm: livestock and weeds in the intermountain west,” in G. Wuerthner and M Matteson, eds., Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2002), pp. 203–06.26. USDA NRCS, Summary Report 1997 National Resources Inventory (Washington, DC, 2000), p. 9. For similar 2003 data, see USDA, “Johanns announces 43 percent decline in total cropland erosion,” press release, May 22, 2006, USDA Farm Service Agency, Conservation Reserve Program monthly contract report,, accessed Aug. 3, 2005.28. USDA NRCS, National Resources Inventory: 2002 (Washington, DC, 2004), p. 1.29. USDA, Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators (Washington, DC, 2003), ch. 4.2, pp. 22, 41.
  • Notes • 20330. Purdue University, “Tillage type definitions” (2002), Definitions.html.31. Calculations based on acreages in USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA NASS), Agricultural Chemical Usage: Field Crops Summary for 1998, 2000, 2001; and grain used for feed from Agricultural Outlook Sept. 2002, agoutlook/sep2002/ao294.pdf, p. 44, table 17.32. Calculations based on acreages in USDA NASS, Field Crops Summary for 1998, 2000, 2001. Total U.S. fertilizer use in 2001 was 20.6 million tons according to USDA ERS, “Agricultural chemicals and production technology: questions and answers, 2002,” ERS Online Briefing Room, htm, accessed Mar. 23, 2004.33. C.E. Pitcairn, U.M. Skiba, M.A. Sutton, et al., “Defining the spatial impacts of poultry farm ammonia emissions on species composition of adjacent woodland groundflora using Ellenberg Nitrogen Index, nitrous oxide and nitric oxide emissions and foliar nitrogen as marker variables,” Environ Pollut (2002) 119:9–21.34. Adapted from USDA NASS, Milk Production, Disposition, and Income 2002 Summary (Washington, DC, 2003), p. 2; USDA NASS, Poultry Slaughter 2002 Summary (Washington, DC, 2003), p. 2; USDA NASS, Livestock Slaughter 2002 Summary (Washington, DC, 2003), pp. 35, 41, 49; and USDA NASS, Chickens and Eggs 2003 Summary (Washington, DC, 2004), p. 2.35. National Research Council (NRC), Air Emissions from Animal Feeding Operations: Current Knowledge, Future Needs (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2003), ch. 3.36. United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Technical Report No. 26 Part 1: Mineral Fertilizer Production and the Environment (Geneva, 1998), p. 49; and NRC, Air Emissions, p. 75.37. Potash and Phosphate Institute and Potash and Phosphate Institute of Canada (PPI- PPIC), Technical Bulletin 2002–1: Plant Nutrient Use in North American Agriculture— Producing Food and Fiber, Preserving the Environment, Integrating Organic and Inorganic Sources (Norcross, GA, 2002), p. 60.38. D. Eckert, “Efficient fertilizer use: fertilizer management practices” (Bannockburn, IL: IMC-Agrico),; and A. Napgezek, “Aging soils?,” University of Wisconsin Extension NPM Field Notes Feb./Mar. 1999.39. H. de Zeeuw and K. Lock, “Urban and periurban agriculture, health and environment,” discussion paper for Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations-Resource Centre for Urban Agriculture and Forestry electronic conference, Urban and Periurban Agriculture on the Policy Agenda (2000), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (EPA OPPT), Background Report on Fertilizer Use, Contaminants, and Regulations (1999), www.epa. gov/opptintr/fertilizer.pdf, pp. ii, iv; and U. Krogmann and L.S. Boyles, Land Application of Sewage Sludge (Biosolids), No. 5: Heavy Metals (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Agricultural Experiment Station, 1999).41. EPA OPPT, Background Report, p. 112.42. EPA OPPT, Background Report, p. 110.43. J. Kaplan, Z. Ross, and B. Walker, As You Sow: Toxic Waste in California Home and Farm Fertilizers (San Francisco: California Public Interest Research Group, 1999), p. 1.44. PPI-PPIC, Technical Bulletin, p. 48.45. R.L. Wershaw, J.R. Garbarino, and M.R. Burkhardt, “Roxarsone in natural water systems,” in U.S. Geological Survey, Proceedings: Effects of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) on Hydrologic Resources and the Environment, meeting held in Fort Collins, CO, Aug. 30– Sept. 1, 1999,
  • 204 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet46. Based on manure data in R.L. Kellogg, C.H. Lander, D.H. Moffitt, et al., Manure Nutrients Relative to the Capacity of Cropland and Pastureland to Assimilate Nutrients: Spatial and Temporal Trends for the United States (Washington, DC: USDA, 2000), p. 49; and USDA NASS data on numbers of livestock, jsp?Pass_group=Livestock+%26+Animals.47. Based on a midyear population of 285,317,559 from the U.S. Census Bureau, “State population estimates: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2002,” 2000s/vintage_2002/ST-EST2002-01.html, accessed Jan. 13, 2003; and an average waste generation of about 0.518 tons per person per year from EPA, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit Regulation and Effluent Limitation Guidelines and Standards for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), as cited in Fed Reg (2003) 68(29):7175–274 (complete document is at Adapted from American Society of Agricultural Engineers, Manure Production and Characteristics (St. Josephs, MI, 2002), pp. 687–89; and Kellogg et al., Manure Nutrients, p. 49.49. Kellogg et al., Manure Nutrients, p. 74.50. Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, Storing Carbon in Agricultural Soils to Help Mitigate Global Warming, CAST Issue Paper 14 (Washington, DC, 2000), p. 2; and Kellogg et al., Manure Nutrients, pp. 53, 56.51. PPI-PPIC, Organic or Inorganic, Which Nutrient Source Is Better for Plants?, Enviro-briefs No. 2 (Norcross, GA, 2002).52. University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service, Nutrient Manager: Making the Most of Manure (College Park, MD, 1994).53. K.E. Nachman, J.P. Graham, L.B. Price, and E.K. Silbergeld, “Arsenic: a roadblock to potential animal waste management solutions,” Environ Health Perspect (2005) 113(9):1123–24.54. J.E. Lee, “Sludge spread on fields is fodder for lawsuits,” New York Times June 26, 2003:20.55. EPA, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Land Application of Sewage Sludge: A Guide for Land Appliers on the Requirements of the Federal Standards for the Use or Disposal of Sewage Sludge, 40 CFR Part 503 (1994), Lee, “Sludge.”57. EPA OPPT, Background Report, p. iii.58. R. Kellogg, R. Nehring, A. Grube, et al., “Trends in the potential for environmental risk from pesticide loss from farm fields” (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, 1999), Extension Toxicology Network, Movement of Pesticides in the Environment, Toxicology Information Brief (1993), “Roundup kills frogs as well as tadpoles, Pitt biologist finds,” University of Pittsburgh news release, Aug. 3, 2005, html&id=2115&-Find; and “Roundup highly lethal to amphibians, finds University of Pittsburgh researcher,” Medical News Today Apr. 3, 2005, medicalnews.php?newsid=22159.61. T. Hayes, K. Haston, M. Tsui, et al., “Atrazine-induced hermaphroditism at 0.1ppb in American leopard frogs (Rana pipiens): laboratory and field evidence,” Environ Health Perspect (2003) 111(4):568–75; and L. Tavera-Mendoza, S. Ruby, P. Brousseau, et al., “Response of the amphibian tadpole Xenopus laevis to atrazine during sexual differentiation of the ovary,” Environ Toxicol Chem (2002) 21:1264–67.62. M. Losure, “Frog researcher invited to tell his story,” Minnesota Public Radio, Oct. 26, 2004,
  • Notes • 205Argument #4. More and Cleaner Water (pp. 87–101)1. A.J. Laukaitis, “Drought shrinking McConaughy,” Lincoln Journal Star May 22, 2005:D1.2. Water Education Foundation, “Colorado river project,” asp.3. Calculations based on D. Pimentel, J. Houser, E. Preiss, et al., “Water resources: agriculture, the environment, and society,” Bioscience (1997) 47(2):97–106.4. Calculations based on D. Pimentel, B. Berger, D. Filiberto, et al., “Water resources: agricultural and environmental issues,” Bioscience (2004) 54:909–18.5. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 1995 (Washington, DC, 1998), pp. 18–19.6. USGS, Estimated Use of Water, pp. 18–19; and U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA NASS). 2003 Farm and Ranch Irrigation Survey (Washington, DC, 2004), pp. 69–89. Other irrigation includes vegetables and fruit orchards, irrigation of feed grains for export, other crops (e.g., rice), fish farms, parks, and public and private golf courses.7. USDA, Economic Research Service (USDA ERS), Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators (Washington, DC, 2003) p. 2.1-1.8. USGS, Estimated Use of Water, p. 19.9. S. Postel, Pillar of Sand (New York: WorldWatch Institute, 1999), p. 80. The figure of 21 billion gallons per day originally was recorded by the former U.S. Water Resources Council and reported in J. Adler, “The browning of America,” Newsweek Feb. 23, 1981:26.10. D. Jehl, “Saving water, U.S. farmers are worried they’ll parch,” New York Times Aug. 28, 2002:A1.11. High Plains Water Conservation District Number 1, “The Ogallala Aquifer” (Lubbock, TX),, accessed Mar. 29, 2004; and D. McConnell, “Groundwater: on-line resource” (University of Akron, 1998), geology/natscigeo/Lectures/gwater/gwater.htm#ogallala, accessed Aug. 8, 2005.12. Panhandler Plains Historical Museum, “Ogallala Aquifer” (Canyon, TX), www., accessed Mar. 11, 2005.13. L.E. Jones, “Saltwater contamination in the Upper Floridan Aquifer at Brunswick, Georgia,” in K.J. Hatcher, ed., Proceedings of 2001 Georgia Water Resources Conference (Athens, GA: Institute of Ecology), html, pp. 644–47.14. USDA ERS, Agricultural Resources, p. 2.1-6.15. National Research Council, Mitigating Losses from Land Subsidence in the United States (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 1991), p. 1. The $125 million is equivalent to $180 million in 2005 dollars.16. USDA ERS, Agricultural Resources, p. 2.1-2.17. Authors’ calculations based on USDA data on irrigated acreages and fractions used to feed U.S. livestock.18. USDA NASS, Irrigation Survey, table 27.19. USDA ERS, Agricultural Resources, p. 2.1-2.20. USDA NASS, Irrigation Survey, tables 27, 28.21. USDA NASS, Irrigation Survey, tables 12, 27, adjusted for fractions of irrigated crops used to feed domestic livestock.
  • 206 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet22. USDA ERS, Agricultural Resources, pp. 2.2-2, 3; USDA ERS, “Briefing room: irrigation and water use” (2004),, accessed Aug. 8, 2005.23. USDA ERS, Agricultural Resources, pp. 2.2-3, 7, 11.24. S. Postel, “Growing more food with less water,” Scientific American Feb. 2001:50.25. USDA ERS, Agricultural Resources, pp. 2.2-11.26. USDA NASS, Irrigation Survey, p. 2-2.11.27. Postel, “Growing more food.”28. T.L. Anderson and P.S. Snyder, Priming the Invisible Pump (Bozeman, MT: Property and Environment Research Center, 1997).29. U.S. House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Insular and Interior Affairs, Committee Print, Dec. 1988; referenced in Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Natural Resources. Taking from the Taxpayer: Public Subsidies for Natural Resource Development: An Investigative Report (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1994), pp. 41–69 (expressed in 1988 dollars).30. U.S. House of Representatives, Taking from the Taxpayer, pp. 41–69; referenced in Postel, Pillar of Sand, p. 231.31. U.S. House of Representatives, Taking from the Taxpayer, pp. 41–69; referenced in Postel, Pillar of Sand, p. 231.32. Environmental Working Group, “Executive summary,” in California Water Subsidies (2004), pp. 1–2, USDA ERS, Agricultural Resources, p. 2.1-2.34. For example, 100 gallons of irrigation water increases farm income by 3.4 cents for corn and 1.6 cents for sorghum. Calculated from USDA NASS, Irrigation Survey, tables 27, 28; and USDA ERS, table 17, supply and utilization, Agricultural Outlook Jan.–Feb. 2001:37– 38, USDA NASS, “Quick stats,” asp, accessed Jan. 11, 2006; and USDA NASS, Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts 2004 Summary (2005), Natural Resources Defense Council, “Alfalfa: the thirstiest crop,” fact sheet (2001), www. Congressional Budget Office, Water Use Conflicts in the West: Implications for Reforming the Bureau of Reclamation’s Water Supply Policies (Washington, DC, 1997).38. USGS, Estimated Use of Water, p. 37.39. New York City Department of Environmental Protection, New York City 2004 Drinking Water Supply and Quality Report, S.A. Ewing, D.C. Lay, and E. von Berell, Farm Animal Well-Being: Stress Physiology, Animal Behavior, and Environmental Design (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999), p. 235.41. USGS, Estimated Use of Water, p. 62.42. USDA ERS, Confined Animal Production and Manure Nutrients (Washington, DC, 2001),, p. iii.43. Yunker Plastics, Inc., “Manure lagoons,” North Carolina State University, “Frequently asked questions about livestock production,” html, accessed Oct. 9, 2005; and P. Cantrell, “State opens gate, waterways to livestock factories,” Great Lakes Bulletin Winter 1999:19 (Michigan Land Use Institute).
  • Notes • 20745. Associated Press, “11 million litres of liquid manure spill into upstate New York river,” Aug. 13, 2005.46. M. Cook and E. Stanley, “Reducing water pollution from animal feeding operations,” testimony before the House Subcommittees on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry and Forestry, Resource Conservation, and Research of the Committee on Agriculture, May 13, 1998, D. Pimentel, C. Harvey, P. Resosudarmo, et al., “Environmental and economic costs of soil erosion and conservation benefits,” Science (1995) 267:1117–23.48. P.K. Koluvek, K. Tanji, and T. Trout, “Overview of soil erosion from irrigation,” J Irrig Drainage Engin (1993) 119:929–46.49. USDA ERS, Agricultural Resources, p. 2.3-5.50. United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Environment Programme, World Bank, and World Resources Institute, World Resources 2000–2001: People and Ecosystems—The Fraying Web of Life (Washington, DC, 2001), p. 50.51. Postel, Pillar of Sand, p. 101.52. USDA ERS, Agricultural Resources, p. 2.2-1.53. D. Neffendorf, chairman and coordinator, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS) Grazing Land Conservation Initiative, email to Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Jan. 15, 2004; and Postel, Pillar of Sand, p. 93.54. Potash and Phosphate Institute and Potash and Phosphate Institute of Canada (PPI- PPIC), Technical Bulletin 2002–1: Plant Nutrient Use in North American Agriculture— Producing Food and Fiber, Preserving the Environment, Integrating Organic and Inorganic Sources (Norcross, GA, 2002), p. iii.55. Calculations based on USDA ERS, “U.S. fertilizer use and price” (1964–2003), tables 1 and 2,; fertilizer usage data from states. The analysis included barley, corn, oats, wheat, sorghum, soy, alfalfa, hay, and pasture, but that is not an exhaustive list, so the figure given may be an underestimate.56. USDA ERS, “Briefing room: agricultural chemicals and production technology: nutrient management” (2005), htm, accessed June 4, 2006; and USDA NASS, Agricultural Chemical Usage 2003 Field Crops Summary (2004), pdf, p. 22.57. PPI-PPIC, Technical Bulletin, p. 51.58. N.N. Rabalais, R.E. Turner, and D. Scavia, “Beyond science into policy: Gulf of Mexico hypoxia and the Mississippi River,” BioScience (2002) 52:129–42.59. PPI-PPIC, Technical Bulletin, p. 51.60. Rabalais, Turner, and Scavia, “Beyond science”; and National Science and Technology Council, Committee on Environment and Natural Resources (NSTC), Integrated Assessment of Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico (Washington, DC, 2000), p. 3.61. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Rivers and streams,” National Water Quality Inventory 2000 Report (2002), ch. 2, See, for example, G. Martin, “Phosphate risks abound,” Charlotte City, FL, Sun-Herald, In Idaho, the sites are Eastern Michaud Flats (EPA ID IDD984666610), which was a primary processor of phosphate rock, and Kerr-McGee Chemical Corporation (EPA ID IDD041310707), which was a secondary processor of wastes from phosphate rock mining. In Florida, the site is Stauffer Chemical Co. in Tarpon Springs (EPA ID FLD010596013). For more information on any of those sites, see EPA, Superfund information systems, CERCLIS Database,
  • 208 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet64. B.F. McPherson and R. Halley, “The South Florida environment: a region under stress,” USGS Circular 1134,; and “Groups threaten selenium lawsuit,” Idaho Falls Post Register Sept. 11, 2003:B1.65. Pacific Environmental Services, Inc., Background Report AP-42 Section 6.10 Phosphate Fertilizers, report prepared for EPA (Research Triangle Park, NC, 1996), pp. 2–3; and World Bank, Pollution Prevention and Abatement Handbook (Washington, DC, 1998), p. 387.66. Kongshaug, Energy Consumption.67. Pacific Environmental Services, Phosphate Fertilizers, pp. 10–12.68. World Bank, Pollution Prevention, p. 387.69. K. Kurt and M. Nelson, “Oklahoma accuses Arkansas poultry companies of polluting its water,” Associated Press, July 21, 2005.70. NSTC, Hypoxia, p. 9; Rabalais, Turner, and Scavia, “Beyond science”; and N.N. Rabalais, executive director, Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, email to Center for Science in the Public Interest, June 14, 2002.71. NSTC, Hypoxia, p. 3; and Rabalais, email.72. “Hypoxia, the Gulf of Mexico’s summertime foe,” Watermarks Sept. 2004(26):3–5; www. J.R. Dandelski, Marine Dead Zones: Understanding the Problem, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress (1998), NSTC, Hypoxia, pp. 4–5.75. “Link between agricultural runoff and massive algal blooms in the sea,” Medical News Today Dec. 8, 2004,; and J.M. Beman, K.R. Arrigo, and P.A. Matson, “Agricultural runoff fuels large phytoplankton blooms in vulnerable areas of the ocean,” Nature (2005) 434:211–14.76. EPA, “Pretreatment program,”, accessed Dec. 28, 2005.77. “U.S. sets new farm-animal pollution curbs,” New York Times Dec. 17, 2002:D28.78. EPA, Draft Guidance Manual and Example NPDES Permit for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (1999),, p. 8.79. Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Understanding the Pollution Potential of Livestock Waste (Springfield, 1991).80. Pew Oceans Commission, Marine Pollution in the United States (Arlington, VA: Pew Charitable Trusts, 2001), p. 29.81. National Research Council, Air Emissions from Animal Feeding Operations: Current Knowledge, Future Needs (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2003), p. 52.82. M.A. Mallin, J.M. Burkholder, and L.B. Cahoon, “The North and South Carolina coasts,” Marine Poll Bull (2000) 41:56–75.83. R. Kellogg, R. Nehring, A. Grube, et al., “Trends in the potential for environmental risk from pesticide loss from farm fields” (USDA NRCS, 1999), land/pubs/pesttrend.html.84. EPA, Pesticides in Drinking-Water Wells, Pub. 20T-1004 (1990), text/housing/water-well/waterwel.txt.85. G. Wolff, Investing in Clean Agriculture: How California Can Strengthen Agriculture, Reduce Pollution and Save Money (Oakland, CA: Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, 2005), p. 12.86. D.W. Kolpin, J.E. Barbash, and R.J. Gilliom, “Occurrence of pesticides in shallow groundwater of the United States: initial results from the National Water-Quality
  • Notes • 209 Assessment Program,” Environ Sci Technol (1998) 32:558–66. Similar results were found in a newer USGS study, Pesticides in the Nation’s Streams and Ground Water, 1992–2001—A Summary, USGS, Herbicides in Rainfall across the Midwestern and Northeastern United States, 1990–91 (1998), USGS, “Glyphosate herbicide found in many Midwestern streams, antibiotics not common,”, accessed Mar. 19, 2004.89. D.W. Kolpin, E.T. Furlong, M.T. Meyer, et al., “Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams, 1999–2000: a national reconnaissance,” Environ Sci Technol (2002) 36:1202–11.Argument #5. Cleaner Air (pp. 103–112)1. Associated Press, “Jury selection begins in case against dairy farmer for 2 deaths,” Sept. 10, 2004, EDT0112.DTL.2. U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA NASS), Quick Stats: Agricultural Statistics Data Base,, accessed June 4, 2006.3. Meat production: USDA NASS, Farm Numbers; chicken production: USDA, Economic Research Service, Data Product: Poultry Yearbook (2004), view.asp?f=livestock/89007/.4. Potash and Phosphate Institute and Potash and Phosphate Institute of Canada (PPI- PPIC), Technical Bulletin 2002–1: Plant Nutrient Use in North American Agriculture— Producing Food and Fiber, Preserving the Environment, Integrating Organic and Inorganic Sources (Norcross, GA, 2002), p. 58.5. R. Koelsch, Environmental Considerations for Manure Application System Selection, G95‑1266‑A (University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Publications, 1996), http:// PPI-PPIC, Technical Bulletin, p. 58.7. J. Barker, Safety in Swine Production Systems (Raleigh: North Carolina Cooperative Extension Agency, 1996), P. Viney, V.P. Aneja, J.P. Chauhan, and J.T. Walker, “Characterization of atmospheric ammonia emissions from swine waste storage and manure lagoons,” J Geophys Res- Atmos (2000) 105:11,535–45.9. J.A. Zahn, A. Tung, B. Roberts, et al., “Abatement of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide emissions from a swine lagoon using a polymer biocover,” J Air Waste Manag Asso (2001) 51:562–73.10. C.E. Pitcairn, U.M. Skiba, M.A. Sutton, et al., “Defining the spatial impacts of poultry farm ammonia emissions on species composition of adjacent woodland groundflora using Ellenberg Nitrogen Index, nitrous oxide and nitric oxide emissions and foliar nitrogen as marker variables,” Environ Pollut (2002) 119:9–21.11. National Research Council (NRC), Air Emissions from Animal Feeding Operations: Current Knowledge, Future Needs (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2003), p. 52.12. NRC, Air Emissions, p. 72.13. Ontario Medical Association, Ground Level Ozone Position Paper, smog/ground.asp.14. T. Pelton, “Critics charge animal farms are feeding pollution into air,” Baltimore Sun Feb. 2, 2005:1A.
  • 210 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet15. Environmental Law & Policy Center, “Illinois rivers protection initiative,” www.elpc. org/forest/water/ammonia.htm.16. Pelton, “Animal farms.”17. A. Martin, “Livestock industry finds friends in EPA: document details lobbyists’ impact on air-quality plan,” Chicago Tribune May 16, 2004:C9.18. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990–1998, EPA 236–R-00–001 (2000), globalwarming.nsf/UniqueKeyLookup/SHSU5BMQ76/$File/2000-inventory.pdf.19. B. Field, Beware On-Farm Manure Storage Hazards (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, 1980),; and Preventing Deaths of Farm Workers in Manure Pits, NIOSH Publication 90-103, (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1990), NRC, Air Emissions, p. 54.21. EPA, Inventory. Methane emissions from livestock and manure total 54.8 million metric tons of carbon equivalent (multiply by 3.67 to convert to carbon dioxide). The EPA estimates that the average automobile emits 6.14 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. EPA, “Personal greenhouse gas calculator,” globalwarming.nsf/content/ResourceCenterToolsGHGCalculator.html.22. PPI-PPIC, Technical Bulletin, pp. 60–61; and NRC, Air Emissions, p. 52.23. NRC, Air Emissions, p. 52.24. U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), “Nitrous oxide emissions” (2001), oiaf/1605/gg00rpt/nitrous.html#nap, accessed Aug. 5, 2004.25. V. Smil, Cycles of Life (New York: Scientific American, 1997), p. 136.26. NRC, Air Emissions, p. 52.27. NRC, Air Emissions, pp. 51, 53.28. NRC, Air Emissions, p. 21.29. Pacific Environmental Services, Inc., Background Report AP-42 Section 6.8 Ammonium Nitrate Fertilizer, report prepared for EPA (Research Triangle Park, NC, 1996), p. 5; and EPA. AP-42: Compilation of Air Pollution Emission Factors, Vol. 1., 5th ed. (Washington DC, 1995), p. 8.3–3.30. EPA, AP-42, pp. 8.1-4, 8.8-4, 8.3-7; and EPA, “Effects of acid rain: human health” (2003),, accessed Apr. 3, 2005.31. G. Kongshaug, Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Fertilizer Production (International Fertilizer Industry Association, 1998), www.fertilizer. org/ifa/publicat/PDF/1998_biblio_65.pdf.32. Adapted from Kongshaug, Energy Consumption; K.J. Hulsbergen and W.D. Kalk, “Energy balances in different agricultural systems: can they be improved?,” paper presented at International Fertiliser Society Symposium, Lisbon, Mar. 5, 2001 (York, UK: International Fertiliser Society, 2001), p. 8; and DOE, “Energy consumption estimates by source, 1960–2000, United States” (2003), www.eia.doe. gov/emeu/states/sep_use/total/use_tot_us.html.33. B.J. Nebel, Environmental Science: The Way the World Works, 3rd ed. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990), pp. 300–09.34. NRC, Air Emissions, pp. 69–71.35. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Agricultural Safety Database: Manure Gas, Hydrogen Sulfide (2002),– d001600/d001535/d001535.html, accessed Mar. 12, 2003.36. Barker, Safety.
  • Notes • 21137. Barker, Safety.38. J. Lee, “Neighbors of vast hog farms say foul air endangers their health,” New York Times May 11, 2003:1.39. Barker, Safety.40. CDC, database.41. NRC, Air Emissions, p. 54.42. NRC, Air Emissions, pp. 68–69; and S.S. Schiffman, “Livestock odors: implications for human well-being,” J Anim Sci (1998) 76:1343–55.43. Schiffman, “Livestock odors”; and NRC, Air Emissions, p. 68.44. C.M. Williams, Benefits of Adopting Environmentally Superior Swine Waste Management Technologies in North Carolina: An Environmental and Economic Assessment (Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI International, 2003), pp. 6.1–6.3.45. NRC, Air Emissions, p. 56.46. Schiffman, “Livestock odors”; NRC, Air Emissions, pp. 68–69; and R.C. Avery, S. Wing, S.W. Marshall, et al., “Odor from industrial hog farming operations and mucosal immune function in neighbors,” Arch Environ Health (2004) 59(2):101–08.47. Schiffman, “Livestock odors”; and NRC, Air Emissions, p. 68.48. NRC, Air Emissions, p. 55.49. A.R. Chapin, A. Rule, K. Gibson, et al., “Airborne multi-drug resistant bacteria isolated from a concentrated swine feeding operation,” Environ Health Perspect (2005) 113(2), G. Hamscher, H.T. Pawelzick, S. Sczesny, et al., “Antibiotics in dust originating from a pig-fattening farm: a new source of health hazard for farmers?,” Environ Health Perspect (2003) 111:1590–94.51. USDA, Agricultural Research Service, “Action plan: Component V: pesticides and other synthetic organic compounds,” htm?np_code=203&docid=324.52. U.S. Geological Survey, Herbicides in Rainfall across the Midwestern and Northeastern United States, 1990–91 (1998), NRC, Air Emissions, p. 55.54. J. Eilperin, “In California, agriculture takes center stage in pollution debate,” Washington Post Sept. 26, 2005:A1.Argument #6. Less Animal Suffering (pp. 113–139)1. Congressional Record July 9, 2001:S7310–11.2. U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA NASS), Livestock Slaughter 2002 Summary (Washington, DC, 2003), p. 1.3. USDA NASS, Poultry Slaughter 2002 Summary (Washington, DC, 2003), pp. 2–3.4. American Meat Institute, Animal handling frequently asked questions, www. D. Barboza, “Animals seeking happiness,” New York Times June 29, 2003:4-5.6. V. Hirsch, Legal Protections of the Domestic Chicken in the United States and Europe (Michigan State University, Detroit College of Law, Animal Legal and Historical Center, 2003),
  • 212 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet7. For cattle, hogs, and sheep slaughtered in commercial plants and on farms: USDA NASS, Livestock Slaughter 2004 Summary, livestock/pls-bban/lsan0305.pdf; for poultry: USDA NASS, Poultry Slaughter 2004 Annual Summary, pdf. These numbers omit hundreds of millions of additional animals (mostly chickens) that die (due to injury or illness) or are killed (such as male chicks by the egg industry) before they got to slaughterhouses.8. M. Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy (New York: St. Martin’s Griffon, 2002).9. B.E. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare (Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press, 1995), p. 100.10. C.W. Arave and J.L. Albright, “Animal welfare issues: dairy,” in R.D. Reynells and B.R. Eastwood, eds., Animal Welfare Issues Compendium: A Collection of 14 Discussion Papers (Washington, DC: USDA, Cooperative State Research Extension Education Service, Plant and Animal Production, Protection and Processing, 1997), awic/pubs/97issues.htm, p. 63; Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, pp. 102–03; and C. Phillips, Cattle Behaviour and Welfare, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2002), p. 211.11. S.M. Abutarbush and O.M. Radostits, “Obstruction of the small intestine caused by a hairball in 2 young calves,” Can Vet J (2004) 45(4):324–25.12. Phillips, Cattle Behaviour.13. T. Field, “Effects of hot iron branding on value of cattle hides,” The Final Report of the National Beef Quality Audit, 1991 (Englewood, CO: National Cattlemen’s Association, 1992), p. 127; cited in Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 58.14. Arave and Albright, “Dairy,” p. 60.15. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 61; and Rollin, university distinguished professor, Colorado State University, email to Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Aug. 24, 2004.16. Arave and Albright, “Dairy,” p. 61.17. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 62.18. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, pp. 62–63.19. R. Cobb, “Horns on domestic farm animals,” Working with Farm Animals course materials, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, AnSci103/horns.html.20. Arave and Albright, “Dairy,” p. 61.21. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 105.22. Phillips, Cattle Behaviour, p. 214.23. Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, The Animal Welfare Act/The Animal Welfare Ordinance (2004),; and R. Silvanic, “Dairy production in Sweden,” recenttrips/sweden2003/studentpapers/swedendairySilvanic.pdf.24. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 99.25. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 119.26. D.E. Granstrom, “Agricultural (nonbiomedical) animal research outside the laboratory: a review of guidelines for institutional animal care and use committees,” ILAR J (2003) 44(3): 206–10.27. J.A. Mench and P.B. Siegel, “Animal welfare issues: poultry,” in Reynells and Eastwood, eds., Animal Welfare Issues Compendium, p. 105; and Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 134.28. M.E. Ensminger, Animal Science, 9th ed. (Danville, IL: Interstate Publishing, 1991), p. 184.
  • Notes • 21329. The Mini Cooper is 142.8 by 75.8 inches, or 75.2 square feet. “Mini Features and Specs, 2003,” BMW of North America, features/minicooper/exterior/dimensions/none.30. S.L. Davis and P.R. Cheek, “Do domestic animals have minds and the ability to think? A provisional sample of opinions on the question,” J Anim Sci (1998) 76:2072–79.31. S.A. Ewing, D.C. Lay, E. von Berell, Farm Animal Well-Being: Stress Physiology, Animal Behavior, and Environmental Design (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999), p. 222; Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, pp. 76, 91; and Alberta Pork, “What is a gestation crate?,” Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 93.33. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), FAOSTAT, http://apps., accessed Aug. 11, 2004; and Department for Environment and Rural Affairs, “Introduction to veterinary surveillance and emerging diseases,” in Animal Health 2000; The Chief Veterinary Officer’s Report for 2000 (London, 2001), ch. A4.34. J. Barker, Safety in Swine Production Systems (Raleigh: North Carolina Cooperative Extension Agency, 1996), Compassion Over Killing, “About ISE,” Ewing, Lay, and von Berell, Farm Animal Well-Being, p. 250.37. United Egg Producers, United Egg Producers Animal Husbandry Guidelines for U.S. Egg Laying Flocks, 2005, 2nd ed., guidelines.pdf.38. USDA, “USDA releases estimates of farm production losses,” Release No. 0385.05, Sept. 20, 2005.39. Scully, Dominion.40. Mench and Siegel, “Poultry,” p. 101; and “Laying down minimum standards for the protection of laying hens,” Official Journal of the European Communities, Council Directive 1999/74/Ec, pdf.41. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 119.42. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, pp. 120–26.43. C. Druce and P. Lymbery, Outlawed in Europe: Three Decades of Progress in Europe (Animal Rights International, 2001), S. Romero, “Virus takes a toll on Texas poultry industry,” New York Times May 16, 2003: C1; and “Avian flu found on Maryland farm,” Washington Post Mar. 7, 2004:C3.45. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 133.46. Arave and Albright, “Dairy,” p. 64.47. B. Faye, F. Lescourret, N. Dorr, et al., “Interrelationships between herd management practices and udder health status using canonical correspondence analysis,” Prev Vet Med (1997) 32:171–92.48. Arave and Albright, “Dairy.”49. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 106; and Arave and Albright, “Dairy,” p. 59.50. I.R. Dohoo, K. Leslie, L. DesCôteaux, et al., “A meta-analysis review of the effects of recombinant bovine somatotropin: 1. Methodology and effects on production, 2. Effects on animal health, reproductive performance, and culling,” Can J Vet Res (2003) 67(4):241- 64; and Monsanto, “Posilac,” Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 125.
  • 214 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet52. United Egg Producers, Animal Husbandry Guidelines.53. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, pp. 103–04; Ewing, Lay, and von Berrell, Farm Animal Well- Being, pp. 189–91; and Phillips, Cattle Behavior, p. 210.54. Ewing, Lay, and von Berrell, Farm Animal Well-Being, pp. 189–91.55. Ewing, Lay, and von Berrell, Farm Animal Well-Being, pp. 189–91.56. Phillips, Cattle Behavior, p. 213.57. Ewing, Lay, and von Berrell, Farm Animal Well-Being, p. 220.58. Y. Hyun, M. Ellis, G. Riskowski, and R.W. Johnson, “Growth performance of pigs subjected to multiple concurrent environmental stressors,” J Anim Sci (1998) 76:721–77.59. Ewing, Lay, and von Berrell, Farm Animal Well-Being, p. 186.60. P.J. Holden and J. McGlone, “Animal welfare issues: swine,” in Reynells and Eastwood, Animal Welfare Issues Compendium, p. 127.61. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 75.62. Ewing, Lay, and von Berrell, Farm Animal Well-Being, p. 220.63. Ewing, Lay, and von Berrell, Farm Animal Well-Being, pp. 179 and 194–95.64. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 119.65. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 121.66. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 122.67. A.B. Webster, “Behavior of chickens” in D.D. Bell and W.D. Weaver, eds., Commercial Chicken Meat and Egg Production (Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002), pp. 71–86.68. Ewing, Lay, and von Berrell, Farm Animal Well-Being, p. 194.69. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 133.70. Compassion Over Killing, A COK Report: Animal Suffering in the Broiler Industry (Washington, DC, 2004).71. C.J. Savory, K. Maros, and S.M. Rutter, “Assessment of hunger in growing broiler breeders in relation to a commercial restricted feeding programme,” Animal Welfare (1993) 2:131– 52; and C.J. Savory and K. Maros, “Influence of degree of food restriction, age, and time of day on behaviour of broiler breeder chickens,” Behavioural Processes (1993) 29:179–90.72. D. Sainsbury, Animal Health, 2nd ed. (Malden, MA: Blackwell Science Ltd, 1998), p. 2.73. Mench and Siegel, “Poultry,” p. 101.74. Sainsbury, Animal Health, p. 2.75. M.E. Ensminger and R.C. Perry, Beef Cattle Science, 7th ed. (Danville, IL: Interstate Publishing, 1997), pp. 300–06; E. Schlosser, Fast Food Nation (New York: HarperCollins Perennial, 2002), p. 202; R.D. Shaver, “By-product feedstuffs in dairy cattle diets in the Upper Midwest,” stuffs.html; and S.B. Blezinger, “Energy issues affect choices for cattle feed ingredients,” Cattle Today Online, USDA Economic Research Service (USDA ERS), FoodConsumption/FoodAvailQueriable.aspx, accessed Aug. 11, 2005.77. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, pp. 111–13.78. R.H. Poppenga, “Current environmental threats to animal health and productivity,” Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract (2000) 16:545–58.79. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Drug Administration Pesticide Program: Residue Monitoring 2000 (Washington, DC, 2001), p. 12.80. S.M. Rhind, “Endocrine disrupting compounds and farm animals: their properties, actions and routes of exposure,” Domest Anim Endocrinol (2002) 23:179–87.
  • Notes • 21581. V. Ishler, J. Heinrichs, and G. Varga, From Feed to Milk: Understanding Rumen Function,” Penn State Extension Circular 422 (1996), rumen.pdf, p. 10; J.C. Plazier, “Feeding forage to prevent rumen acidosis in cattle” (University of Manitoba, 2002),; and J. Couzin, “Cattle diet linked to bacterial growth,” Science (1998) 281:1578.82. F. Diez-Gonzalez, T.R. Callaway, M.G. Kizoulis, et al., “Grain feeding and the dissemination of acid-resistant Escherichia coli from cattle,” Science (1998) 281:1666–68; and J.B. Russell, F. Diez-Gonzalez, and G.N. Jarvis, “Potential effect of cattle diets on the transmission of pathogenic Escherichia coli to humans,” Microbes Infect (2000) 2:45–53.83. “High-grain cattle diets cause drug need,” Meat Processing May 23, 2001, www.meatnews. com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Article&artNum=1157.84. D. Griffin, L. Perino, and D. Hudson, Feedlot Lameness (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska, 1993), p. 1.85. “Grain overload,” Merck Veterinary Manual, 9th ed. (2005), mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/21703.htm&word=high%2cgrain%2cdiet.86. “Cattle die after feedlot seized,” Toronto Star Jan. 10, 2005:A4; and “Grain overload.”87. “High-grain cattle diets cause drug need.”88. Texas Cooperative Extension, “Animal disorders: bloat,” ~butler/foragesoftexas/animaldisorders/bloat.html.89. “Cattle die after feedlot seized.”90. Ewing, Lay, and von Berrell, Farm Animal Well-Being, pp. 189–91.91. Phillips, Cattle Behavior, pp. 210–11.92. Z.O. Müller, “Economic aspects of recycled wastes,” in New Feed Resources: Proceedings of a Technical Consultation Held in Rome, 22–24 Nov. 1976 (FAO), X6503E/X6503E14.htm.93. Plazier, “Feeding forage”; and J.B. Russell, F. Diez-Gonzalez, and G.N. Jarvis, “Effects of diet shifts on Escherichia coli in cattle,” J Dairy Sci (2000) 83(4):869.94. The Innovation Group, “Sodium bicarbonate,” profile, ChemProfiles/Sodium%20Bicarbonate.htm.95. Rhind, “Endocrine disrupting compounds.”96. H.B. Sewell, Growth Stimulants (Implants), University of Missouri-Columbia Agricultural Pub. G2090 (1993), European Commission, Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures Relating to Public Health: Assessment of Potential Risks to Human Health from Hormone Residues in Bovine Meat and Meat Products (1999), FDA, Center for Veterinary Medicine, “The use of steroid hormones for growth promotion in food-producing animals” (2002),; USDA Foreign Agriculture Service, “A primer on beef hormones” (1999), issues/BeefPrimer022699.html; and World Health Organization, Evaluation of Certain Veterinary Drug Residues in Food: 52nd Report of the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (2000), Confidential email to CSPI, May 30, 2006.100. J. Raloff, “Hormones: here’s the beef,” Science News (2002) 161:10; E.F. Orlando, A.S. Kolok, G. Binzcik, et al., “Endocrine-disrupting effects of cattle feedlot effluent on an aquatic sentinel species, the fathead minnow,” Environ Health Perspect (2004) 112(5):A270; and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Funding opportunities: fate and effects of hormones in waste from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOS),” http://
  • 216 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet101. E.F. Orlando, reproductive biologist, Florida Atlantic University, email to CSPI, May 16, 2006.102. E. Weise, “Iowa, Minnesota are latest to test for dioxin in animal-feed probe,” USA Today Mar. 26, 2003:9D.103. J. Lee, “Sewer sludge spread on fields is fodder for lawsuits,” New York Times June 26, 2003:A20.104. R.L. Mahler, P. Ernestine, and R. Taylor, Nitrate and Groundwater (Moscow, ID: University of Idaho, 2002), D.G. McNeil Jr., “KFC supplier accused of cruelty to animals,” New York Times July 20, 2004:C2; and Pub. L. No. 95-445, 92 Stat. 1069 (1978).106. As cited in Poppenga, “Current environmental threats.”107. D. Grady and D.G. McNeil Jr, “Rules issued on animal feed and use of disabled cattle,” New York Times Jan. 27, 2004:A12.108. D.A. Shields and K.A. Mathews, Interstate Livestock Species (Washington, DC: USDA ERS, 2003), p. 4.109. Ewing, Lay, and von Berrell, Farm Animal Well-Being, p. 241.110. Shields and Mathews, Interstate Livestock, p. 4.111. N.G. Gregory, Animal Welfare and Meat Science (New York: CABI Publishing, 1998), p. 18.112. T. Grandin, “Perspectives on transportation issues: the importance of having physically fit cattle and pigs” (2000), issues.html.113. S.D. Eischer, “Transportation of cattle in the dairy industry: current research and future directions,” J Dairy Sci (2001) 84(suppl.):E19–23.114. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 106.115. J.F. Currin and W.D. Whittier, Feeder and Stocker Health and Management Practices (Blacksburg, VA: Virginia Cooperative Extension, 2000), p. 1.116. N.R. Hartwig, “Bovine respiratory disease” (Iowa Beef Industry Council), www.iabeef. org/Content/brd.aspx.117. Gregory, Animal Welfare, p. 35; and D.G. McNeil Jr., “Inquiry finds lax federal inspections at kosher meat plant,” New York Times Mar. 10, 2006:A13.118. Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, p. 135.119. L. Compa, Blood, Sweat, and Fear: Workers’ Rights in U.S. Meat and Poultry Plants (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2004), p. 34.120. World Society for the Protection of Animals, Industrial Animal Agriculture: The Next Global Health Crisis? (London, 2004), p. 10.121. Compa, Blood, Sweat, and Fear, p. 40.122. J. Motavalli, “The case against meat,” E/Environ Mag (2002) 13(1):5.123. Compa, Blood, Sweat, and Fear, pp. 33, 38–40, 42–43.124. S. Greenhouse, “Rights group condemns meatpackers on job safety,” New York Times Jan. 26, 2005:A13.125. Schlosser, Fast Food Nation, p. 178.126. T. Grandin, Survey of Federally Inspected Beef, Veal, Pork, and Sheep Slaughter Plants (Washington, DC: USDA Agricultural Research Service, 1997).127. Gregory, Animal Welfare, p. 15; and Grandin, Stunning and Handling, tables 1–3.128. Mench and Siegel, “Poultry,” p. 104.
  • Notes • 217129. Humane Farming Association, “HFA’s petition to Washington State, affidavit #16” (2005), Rollin, Farm Animal Welfare, pp. 69–70.131. M. Warner, “Sharpton joins with an animal activist group in calling for a boycott of KFC,” New York Times Feb. 2, 2005:C1.132. Mench and Siegel, “Poultry,” p. 104.133. U.S. Government Accountability Office, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act: USDA Has Addressed Some Problems but Still Faces Enforcement Challenges (2004), new.items/d04247.pdf, p. 1; Pub. L. No. 95–445, 92 Stat. 1069 (1978); and E. Williamson, “Humane Society to sue over poultry slaughtering,” Washington Post Nov. 21, 2005:B2.134. USDA ERS, Agricultural Resources and Environmental Indicators (Washington, DC, 2003), p. 3.1-9.135. USDA ERS, Agricultural Resources, p. 3.1-12.136. National Research Council (NRC), The Future Role of Pesticides in U.S. Agriculture (Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2000), p. 19.137. See American Beekeeping Federation, 2006 ABF Resolution CR12, pesticide registration process,; and North American Pollinator Protection Campaign, “Plans and projects,” NRC, Future Role of Pesticides, p. 82.139. M. Deinlein, When It Comes to Pesticides, Birds Are Sitting Ducks, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center Fact Sheet No. 8, MigratoryBirds/Fact_Sheets/fxsht8.pdf.140. NRC, Future Role of Pesticides, p. 80.Changing Your Own Diet (pp. 143–150)1. American Cancer Society, “The complete guide—nutrition and physical activity,” Affect_Risks.asp; American Diabetes Association, “Evidence-based nutrition principles and recommendations for the treatment and prevention of diabetes and related complications, Diabetes Care (2002) 25:S50–60; A.H. Lichtenstein, L.J. Appel, M. Brands, et al., ”Diet and lifestyle recommendations revision 2006: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee,” Circulation (2006) 114; American Heart Association, “Our 2006 diet and lifestyle recommendations,” www.americanheart. org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=851; American Institute for Cancer Research/World Cancer Research Fund, Food, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective (Washington, DC: American Institute for Cancer Research, 1997); U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2005), pdf; and World Health Organization, “Obesity and overweight” (Geneva, 2003), www. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Facts about the DASH Eating Plan (rev. 2003), Adapted from NHLBI, DASH Eating Plan, p. 5.4. American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada, “Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: vegetarian diets,” J Am Diet Assoc (2003) 103:748–65; and G.E. Fraser, Diet, Life Expectancy, and Chronic Disease: Studies of Seventh- day Adventists and Other Vegetarians (New York: Oxford, 2003).5. American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada, “Vegetarian diets.”
  • 218 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet6. V. Messina, V. Melina, and A.R. Mangels, “A new food guide for North American vegetarians,” Can J Diet Prac Res (2003) 64:82–86, www.dietitians. ca/news/downloads/Vegetarian_Food_Guide_for_NA.pdf.7. Adapted from Messina, Melina, and Mangels, “New food guide.”8. R. Obeid, J. Geisel, H. Schorr, et al., “The impact of vegetarianism on some hematological parameters,” Eur J Haem (2002) 69:275–79; C. Lamberg-Allardt, M. Karkkainen, R. Seppanen, et al., “Low serum 25–hydroxyvitamin D concentrations and secondary hyperparathyroidism in middle-aged white strict vegetarians,” Am J Clin Nutr (1993) 58:684–89; and E.H. Haddad, L.S. Berk, J.D. Kettering, et al., “Dietary intake and biochemical, hematologic, and immune status of vegans compared with non- vegetarians,” Am J Clin Nutr (1999) 70(suppl):586S–93S.9. Calculations were made using the Eating Impact Calculator on the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Eating Green web site: Government Policies (pp. 151–168)1. M. Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (East Rutherford, NJ: Penguin Press, 2006).2. L.H. Baumgard, J.K. Sangster, and D.E. Bauman, “Milk fat synthesis in dairy cows is progressively reduced by increasing supplemental amounts of trans-10, cis-12 conjugated linoleic acid (CLA),” J Nutr (2001) 131:1764–69.3. A.M. Fearon, C.S. Mayne, J.A.M. Beattie, et al., “Effect of level of oil inclusion in the diet of dairy cows at pasture on animal performance and milk composition and properties,” J Sci Food Agric (2004) 84:497–504.4. Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Anyone’s Guess: The Need for Nutrition Labeling at Fast-Food and Other Chain Restaurants (2003), anyone_s_guess_final_web.pdf.5. Associated Press, “EPA exempts factory farms from high pollution penalties,” Jan. 31, 2006.6. American Public Health Association, “2003–7 Precautionary moratorium on new concentrated animal feed operations,” Association News, policy/2003/2003-007.pdf.7. Farm Foundation, The Future of Animal Agriculture in North America (Oak Brook, IL, 2006), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Funding opportunities: fate and effects of hormones in waste from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOS),” “The curse of factory farms,” New York Times Aug. 30, 2002:A18.10. EPA, Development Document for the Final Revisions to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Regulation and the Effluent Guidelines for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (2002), accessible at, pp. 8-1–11; and Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Manure’s Impact on Rivers, Streams, and the Chesapeake Bay (Annapolis, 2004), p.  18. A soil scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) who has studied phytase in hogs says that CAFO producers use whatever feed is provided to them by the feed mill and/or the integrator. An obstacle is that hog feed is pelletized, which can render the phytase enzyme less effective, but innovative technology might solve that problem. D.R. Smith, Ph.D., USDA, Agricultural Research Service, email to CSPI, Sept. 10, 2004.11. EPA, Development Document, pp. 8-1–11; and Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Manure’s Impact.
  • Notes • 21912. E. Brzostek, Environmental Quality Incentives Program program specialist, USDA, National Resources Conservation Service, email to CSPI, Dec. 22, 2005.13. Environmental Working Group, California Water Subsidies (2004), www.ewg. org/reports/watersubsidies/.14. C. Dimitri and L. Oberholtzer, “EU and U.S. organic markets face strong demand under different policies,” Amber Waves (2006) 4(1):12–19.15. V. Frances, Fair Agricultural Chemical Taxes (Washington, DC: Friends of the Earth, 1999), Soil and Water Conservation Society, Sharing the Cost: Creating a Working Land Conservation Trust Fund Through a Tax on Agricultural Inputs? (Ankeny, IA: Soil and Water Conservation Society, 2003). This analysis notes that two federal programs, the Pittman-Robertson Act and the Dingell-Johnson Act, fund wildlife and fisheries conservation, management, education, and restoration programs through taxes on hunting and fishing equipment. Thus, there are precedents for collecting taxes from certain sectors, distributing funds back to the states, and then ensuring that the sectors that pay the taxes benefit from the programs that are funded.17. Soil and Water Conservation Society, Sharing the Cost.18. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Manure Policy and MINAS: Regulating Nitrogen and Phosphorus Surpluses in Agriculture of the Netherlands (2005),; and R. Naylor, H. Steinfeld, W. Falcon, et al., “Losing the links between livestock and land,” Science (2005) Dec. 9:1621–22.19. Farm subsidies are discussed more fully in the following documents: USDA Economic Research Service, “The 2002 Farm Bill: provisions and economic implications,” www.; D.E. Ray, speaker, Agricultural Policy for the 21st Century and the Legacy of the Wallaces, the John Pesek Colloquium on Sustainable Agriculture, Mar. 3–4, 2004, Pkg--04-Bro3.pdf; J.E. Frydenlund, The Erosion of Freedom to Farm, Backgrounder 1523 (Washington, DC: Heritage Foundation, 2002), BG1523.cfm?renderforprint=1; and Environmental Working Group, Farm subsidy database,, accessed May 6, 2006.20. The $500 million is the shortfall between what ranchers pay and what the federal government pays for range management. Grazing fees to the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) raise about $6 million a year. However, in 2000–01, the total direct cost, paid by taxpayers, of range management was $132 million. Indirect costs to both agencies for land management planning, habitat management, forest, rangeland research, and other costs in 2001 were as high as $176 million for the Forest Service and $104 million for BLM. The remainder of the federal subsidy is costs assumed by other agencies. K. Moskowitz and C. Romaniello, Assessing the Full Cost of the Federal Grazing Program (Tucson: Center for Biological Diversity, 2002), www.biologicaldiversity. org/swcbd/Programs/grazing/Assessing_the_full_cost.pdf.21. “Laying down minimum standards for the protection of laying hens,” Official Journal of the European Communities, Council Directive 1999/74/Ec, pri/en/oj/dat/1999/l_203/l_20319990803en00530057.pdf; and FARM, “Farmed animal treatment,” fact sheet, M. Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy (New York: St. Martin’s Griffon, 2002).23. Farm Animal Welfare Council,
  • 220 • Six Arguments for a Greener DietAppendix A. A Bestiary of Foodborne Pathogens (pp. 171–176)1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Campylobacter infections: technical information,” diseaseinfo/campylobacter_t.htm, accessed Oct. 1, 2003.2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA CFSAN), Bad Bug Book: Campylobacter jejuni (1992), FDA CFSAN, Bad Bug Book: Campylobacter jejuni; Guillain-Barré Syndrome Foundation International, GBS: An Overview (Wynnewood, PA, 2002), overview.html; and J.C. Buzby, T. Roberts, and B. Allos, Estimated Annual Costs of Campylobacter-Associated Guillain-Barré Syndrome, Agricultural Economics Report No. 756 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 1997).4. I.V. Wesley, S.J. Wells, K.M. Harmon, et al., “Fecal shedding of Campylobacter and Arcobacter spp. in dairy cattle,” Appl Environ Microbiol (2000) 66(5):1994–2000.5. CDC, “Campylobacter”; and A. Hingley, Campylobacter: Low Profile Bug Is Food Poisoning Leader (Washington, DC: FDA, 1999), FDA, “Enroflaxin for poultry; opportunity for hearing,” Docket No. 00N-1571, Fed Reg (2000) 65(211):64954–65, D. Vugia, A. Cronquist, J. Hadler, et al., “Preliminary FoodNet data on the incidence of infection with pathogens transmitted commonly through food—10 states, United States, 2005,” MMWR Weekly (2006) 55(14):392–95.8. FDA CFSAN, Bad Bug Book: Clostridium perfringens, html.9. P.S. Mead, L. Slutsker, V. Dietz, et al., “Food-related illness and death in the United States,” Emerging Infectious Diseases (1999) 5:607–25; and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service (USDA ERS), Economics of Food-borne Disease (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2003).10. B. Van Voris, “Jack in the Box ends E. coli suits,” National Law Journal Nov. 17, 1997.11. USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS), “Beef … from farm to table,” meat preparation fact sheet (2003), to_Table/index.asp.12. A.V. Tutenel, D. Pierard, J. Van Hoof, et al., “Molecular characterization of Escherichia coli O157 contamination routes in a cattle slaughterhouse,” J Food Prot (2003) 66(9):1564– 69; and J.M. McEvoy, A.M. Doherty, J.J. Sheridan, et al., “The prevalence and spread of Escherichia coli O157:H7 at a commercial beef abattoir,” J Appl Microbiol (2003) 95(2):255–66.13. Vugia et al. “Preliminary FoodNet data.”14. “Meat plants faulted on safety rules,” Washington Post Feb. 5, 2003:A24.15. J.A. Crump, A.C. Sulka, A.J. Langer, et al., “An outbreak of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections among visitors to a dairy farm,” N Eng. J Med (2002) 347(8):555–60; and CDC, “Outbreaks of Escherichia coli O157:H7 infections among children associated with farm visits—Pennsylvania and Washington, 2000,” MMWR (2001) 50:293–97.16. “More than 1,000 sickened in deadly E. coli outbreak,” Orlando Sentinel Sept. 18, 1999:A16.17. CDC, “Listeriosis: technical information,” listeriosis_t.htm, accessed Oct. 1, 2003.18. Vugia et al. “Preliminary FoodNet data.”19. FDA CFSAN, Bad Bug Book: Listeria monocytogenes, html 92); FDA CFSAN and USDA FSIS, “Preventing foodborne listeriosis,” background document (1992),; and FDA CFSAN and
  • Notes • 221 USDA FSIS, “Listeria monocytogenes risk assessment questions and answers,” www. P.A. Beloeil, P. Fravalo, C. Chauvin, et al., “Listeria spp. contamination in piggeries: comparison of three sites of environmental swabbing for detection and risk factor hypothesis,” J Vet Med B Infect Dis Vet Public Health (2003) 50:155–60.21. CDC, “Listeriosis: general information,” listeriosis_g.htm, accessed Oct. 1, 2003. Outbreaks caused by vegetables are so rare that the Partnership for Food Safety Education does not even list vegetables as a source for Listeria. Partnership for Food Safety Education, “Organisms that can bug you: causes and symptoms” (2000), B. Rowland, “Listeriosis,” at Health A to Z: Your Family Health Site (2002), www. USDA FSIS, “Listeriosis and pregnancy: what is your risk?,” foodborne illness and disease fact sheet (2001), What_is_Your_Risk/index.asp; and Mayo Clinic, “Meningitis,” health/meningitis/DS00118/dsection=3, accessed Dec. 28, 2005.24. CDC, National Center for Infectious Diseases, “Fact sheet: variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease” (2003),, accessed Dec. 29, 2005.25. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, “Cattlemen dispute report saying mad cow disease may be in U.S.,” maybeinus9864.aspx, accessed Dec. 29, 2005.26. National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit, “CJD figures” (Edinburgh: Western General Hospital),, accessed May 2, 2006; and M. Enserink, “After the crisis: more questions about prions,” Science (2005) Dec. 16:1756–58.27. N. Hunter, “Scrapie and experimental BSE in sheep,” Br Med Bull (2003) 66:171–83; and M.E. Bruce, “TSE strain variation,” Br Med Bull (2003) 66:99–108.28. D. Taylor, “Inactivation of the BSE agent,” C R Acad Sci III (2002) 325:75–76; and H. Baron and S.B. Prusiner, “Prion diseases,” in D.O. Fleming and D.L. Hunt, eds., Biological Safety, Principles and Practices (Washington, DC: ASM Press, 2000), pp. 187–208.29. CDC, “BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy), or mad cow disease,” ncidod/dvrd/bse/, accessed Nov. 22, 2005.30. A. Binkley, “Canada, U.S. grapple with new BSE recommendations,” Food Chem News (2003) 45:27; and J. Marsden, AMI Fact Sheet: Meat Derived by Advanced Meat Recovery (Washington, DC: American Meat Institute, 2002), FactSheetAdvancedMeatRecovery.pdf.31., “Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD), variant_creutzfeldt-jakob_disease/article.htm, accessed Dec. 23, 2005.32. USDA FSIS, “Beef.”33. CDC, “Salmonellosis: technical information,” salmonellosis_t.htm, accessed Dec. 28, 2005; and CDC, “Salmonellosis”; and USDA ERS, “Briefing room: economics of foodborne disease—Salmonella“ (2003), www.ers.usda. gov/Briefing/FoodborneDisease/Salmonella.htm, accessed Oct. 16, 2003.34. University of Washington School of Medicine, “Reiter’s syndrome,” www.orthop., accessed Oct. 17, 2003.35. Vugia et al., “Preliminary FoodNet data.”36. USDA FSIS, Focus on Beef (2002),; K. Todar, “Salmonella and salmonellosis,” in Todar’s Online Textbook of Bacteriology
  • 222 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet (University of Wisconsin–Madison, Department of Bacteriology), www., accessed Dec. 29, 2005; J. Ackerman, “Food: How safe? How altered?,” Nat Geog May 2002:2–50; and D. Cole, L. Todd, and S. Wing, “Concentrated swine feeding operations and public health: a review of occupational and community health effects,” Env Health Perspect (2000) 108(8):685–89.37. USDA, Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS), Info Sheet: Salmonella in United States Feedlots (Fort Collins, CO, 2001), nahms/feedlot/feedlot99/FD99salmonella.pdf; S.J. Wells, P.J. Fedorka-Cray, D.A. Dargatz, et al., “Fecal shedding of Salmonella spp. by dairy cows on farm and at cull cow markets,” J Food Prot. (2001) 64:3–11; J.S. Bailey, N.J. Stern, P. Fedorka-Cray, et al., “Sources and movement of Salmonella through integrated poultry operations: a multistate epidemiological investigation,” J Food Prot (2001) 64(11):1690–97; and USDA APHIS, “Shedding of Salmonella by finisher hogs in the U.S.” (1997), ceah/ncahs/nahms/swine/swine95/sw95salm.pdf.38. D.G. White, S. Zhao, R. Sudler, et al., “The isolation of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella from retail ground meats,” New Engl J Med (2001) 345:1147–53.39. CDC, “Salmonella enteriditis: general information” (2005), diseaseinfo/salment_g.htm, accessed Dec. 29, 2005.40. USDA National Animal Health Monitoring System, “Salmonella enterica serotype enteritidis in table egg layers in the U.S.” (2000), nahms/poultry/layers99/lay99se.pdf, p. 1.41. P.S. Holt, “Molting and Salmonella enterica serovar enteritidis infection: the problem and some solutions,” Poult Sci (2003) 82:1008–10.42. FDA CFSAN, Bad Bug Book: Staphylococcus aureus, html; Predicala et al., “Bioaerosols in swine barns”; and M. Hajmeer, “Staphylococcus aureus“ (Davis, CA: University of California, Department of Population Health and Reproduction, 2005), FDA CFSAN, Bad Bug Book: Staphylococcus aureus.44. Partnership for Food Safety Education, Ten Least Wanted Foodborne Pathogens (2003),, accessed July 1, 2004.45. CDC, Toxoplasma Infection (Division of Parasitic Diseases, 2003), dpd/parasites/toxoplasmosis/2004_PDF_Toxoplasmosis.pdf; and J.D. Kravetz and D.G. Federman, “Toxoplasmosis in pregnancy,” Am J Med (2005) 118:212–16.
  • Photo CreditsWe thank the following sources for their courtesy in providing images forthis book. Animal Welfare Institute, – p. xii Compassion Over Killing – pp. 119 (top), 122 Corbis – cover photo; pp. 117, 129 Courtesy of Cynthia Goldsmith, Jacqueline Katz, and Sherif R. Zaki, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – p. 67 Coronary Health Improvement Project – p. 27 Dale Farm Limited – p. 155 (top) Augustine G. DiGiovanna, Salisbury University (© 2004, used with permission) – p. 30 Farm Sanctuary – pp. 113, 120, 121, 124, 125 Janet Green – pp. 93, 111 Courtesy Not Just For Vegetarians—Delicious Homestyle Cooking, The Meatless Way by Geraldine Hartman – pp. 22, 57, 149 Jason Hoverman, University of Pittsburgh – p. 85 Barbara Hunt – p. 147 Courtesy of the Kowalcyk family – p. 63 Milk Processor Education Program – p. 157 223
  • 224 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet National Aeronautics and Space Administration – p. 98 National Cancer Institute (Renee Comet, photographer) – p. 18 National Dairy Council – p. 44 National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Dis- ease, Rocky Mountain Laboratories – p. 62 National Food Administration of Sweden – p. 155 (bottom) National Park Service – p. 137 Photodisc – frontispiece, p. 147 Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary – p. 166 Joe Skorupa, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – p. 95 U.S. Congress, Architect of the Capitol – p. 151 U.S. Department of Agriculture – pp. 103, 133, 164 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service – frontispiece (Michael Macneil, photographer), pp. vii, xiv, 9, 19, 31, 33, 35, 36, 37, 39, 42, 47, 50, 51, 53, 72, 73, 119 (bottom), 131, 138, 143, 153, 162 (top) U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service – pp. ix, xi, xiii, 10, 13, 65, 69, 71, 75, 76, 77, 79, 80, 83, 87, 91, 94, 101, 106, 112, 116, 139, 159, 161, 162 (bottom), 163 Prof. Kurt Wüthrich, ETH Zürich – p. 66
  • IndexAbbott Laboratories, 69 nitrous oxide and, 107–08Acid rain, 108 odor and, 110Advanced meat recovery (AMR), 174 overview of, 103–04Advertising, 157 particulate matter and, 106, 109, 111Agricultural Health Study (National pesticides and, 112, 161 Cancer Institute), 54 recommendations to prevent, 159,Agricultural practices. See also Fertiliz- 161–62 ers; Livestock production; Soil volatile organic compounds and, affecting non-farm animals, 136–38 106, 110 compaction and, 78 Alatorre, José, 103 environmental damage from, xii, 77, Algal blooms, 98 94–100 Alpha-linolenic acid, 11, 51 erosion and, 76–77 American Academy of Pediatrics, 57, 69 global, xiii American Beekeeping Federation, 138 of small vs. large farms, 152 American Cancer Society, 42, 57, 144AgriProcessors Inc., 134 American Diabetes Association, 144Air pollution American Dietetic Association, 147 ammonia and, 104–06 American Grass Fed Beef, 10 effects of, 106–07 American Heart Association, 11, 46, 57, 144 fertilizers and, 108–09, 161 American Institute for Cancer Research, 144 from manure, 104–06, 109–10, 158 American Meat Institute, 114 methane and, 107 American Medical Association, 69 nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide American Public Health Association, and, 108 69, 158 225
  • 226 • Six Arguments for a Greener DietAmerican Society of Agricultural Engi- in livestock, 3, 69, 70, 157 neers, 78 in manure contaminate water, 100Ammonia resistance to, 68–70 in air, 104–07 Antioxidants, 51 in water, 99–100 Araisa, Enrique, 103Ammonium nitrate, 80 Arsenic pollution, 82, 84Anderson, James W., 37, 39 Atrazine, 53, 84, 85, 100, 112Animal feed Avian flu, 67, 70–71, 123 antibiotics in, 129, 130 Bacillus, 67 grain-based, 128–30 Bacteria. See also specific bacteria overview of, 127–28 in cattle, 129 pesticides in, 130, 132 foodborne illness from, viii, 60–66 recommendations to reduce use of, in particulate matter, 111 163, 166 Battery cages, 121, 122, 167 rendered farm animals in, 133 Bayer Corporation, 69 sewage sludge in, 132 Beans. See LegumesAnimal products. See also Beef; Dairy Beef. See also Animal products; Cattle; products; Pigs/pork; Poultry; specific Livestock production products cancer and, 3, 8, 10, 42–43 environmental contaminants in, consumption of, 18 52–56 foodborne illness from, 61, 62 fats and cholesterol in, 20, 40–41 grain- vs. grass-fed, xi, 3–13 heterocyclic amines and polycyclic heart disease and, 8, 10, 41 aromatic hydrocarbons in, 52 hypertension and, 41–42 mercury in, 56 nutrition labeling for, 155 promotion of unhealthy, 157 reducing fat content in, 154Animal protein USDA grades for, 5–9 irrigation water to produce, 88, 89 water use to produce, 88–89, 93–94, sources of, 18 101Animals Beta-carotene, 51 effect of fertilizers and manure on, Biosolids fertilizer, 84, 85 96, 97 Bird flu. See Avian flu legislation affecting, 114, 132, 133 Blue baby syndrome, 132 number of slaughtered, 112 Bone density protections for laboratory, 114 fruits and vegetables and, 35–36Animal welfare potassium and, 50 agricultural practices and, 136–38, Bovine spongiform encephalopathy 166–67 (BSE). See Mad cow disease diet and, 127–33, 144, 147 Branding, 116 on farms, 115–27 Brown, Lester, xiii overview of, x, 113–15 Bycatch, 115 slaughterhouse procedures and, Byrd, Robert, 113 134–36 suggestions to improve, 138–39, Calcium, 43 144–45, 147, 148, 167–68 Campylobacter jejuni, 60, 62, 68, 69, transport methods and, 133–34 171–72Animal welfare laws, 114 Cancer. See also specific types of cancerAntacids, 130 among agricultural workers, 54–55Antibiotics in animals, 132 in animal feed, 129, 130 beta-carotene supplements and, 51
  • Index • 227 conjugated linoleic acid and, 11 animal products and, 40–41 dairy products and, 44–45 diet and, 23–25 diet and, 17–18, 24, 29 eggs and, 45, 46 fish and, 46 heart disease and, 20, 27 fruits and vegetables and, 33–35 Ciguatoxin, 47 health-care costs and, 21 Citrus fruits, 36 obesity and, 18 Clean Air Act of 1990, 97, 159 pesticides and, 53–55 Clean Water Act permits, 160 red meat and, 3, 8, 10, 42–43 Clostridium perfringens, 172 selenium and, 51 Coleman, 9Carbajal, Jesus Soto, 135 Colon cancerCarbohydrates, 30 diet and, 24Carbon dioxide, x red meat and, 3, 8, 10, 42Cargill, 164 Community Right-to-Know laws, 159Carotenoids, 51 Compaction, 78Castration, 114, 116–17, 131 Concentrated animal feeding opera-Cattle. See also Beef; Dairy prod- tions (CAFOs), 99, 158–60 ucts; Livestock production; Milk Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), 10–11, 155 production Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) antibiotics use in, 3, 69, 70, 157 (Department of Agriculture), 79 branding of, 116 Conservation tillage, 79 carcass traits of, 5–7 Corn production, 164–65 castration of, 116–17 Coronary Health Improvement Project confinement of, 119 (CHIP), 28–29 dehorning of, 118 Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, 66, 174 fat content breeds of, 6 Cruciferous vegetables, 36 hormones in beef, 117, 124, 131, 160 Cryptosporidium parvum, 65 hormones in dairy, 123 neurotic behavior in, 124–25 Dairy products. See also Animal prod- reducing fat content of, 154 ucts; Milk production separation of calves from mothers cancer and, 44–45 and, 115–16 consumption of, 18 tail docking of, 118 fats and cholesterol in, 40–41Cattlemen’s Beef Board, 9 foodborne illness from, 61Center for Biosecurity (University of health benefits of, 43–44 Pittsburgh), 71 heart disease and, 44Center for Science in the Public Interest reducing fat content of, 154–55 (CSPI), 20, 56, 61, 149, 177 Dead zone (Gulf of Mexico), ix, 97–98Centers for Disease Control and Pre- Debeaking, 119 vention (CDC), 60, 61, 69, 70 Dehorning, 118Central Arizona Project, 92 Denitrification, 81Central Utah Project, 92 Denmark, 70Central Valley Project (California), 92, 161 Department of Agriculture (USDA)Chemical fertilizers, 80–82, 84, 85. See cattle inspection and, 117 also Fertilizers Conservation Compliance provi-Chickens. See Poultry sions of, 162–63Children Continuing Survey of Food Intake, 24 antibiotic-resistant infections and, 69 diet estimates of, 19, 21 pesticides and, 55, 56 Environmental Quality IncentivesCholesterol level Program, 160
  • 228 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet food labels and, 155 Dietary Approaches to Stop Hyperten- food safety and, 71–72 sion (DASH) Eating Plan, 28, 145 Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program, Dietary fiber, 47–49 153 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Commit- health and food-safety responsibili- tee, 45 ties of, 156 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 19, 36, irrigation water and, 91, 92, 95 40, 46, 144, 153 meat grades and, 5–9 Dietitians of Canada, 147 non-farm animals and, 136–38 Diet Scorecard, 149, 150 politics and, xiv Dioxins, 47, 132 processed meat fat content and, 154 Disease, 17–18, 21–22. See also Cancer; promotion of unhealthy foods and, 157 Diabetes; Foodborne illness; Heart sex hormones and, 131 disease; Hypertension; Stroke; spe- soil conservation program and, 79 cific diseasesDepartment of Health and Human Ser- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), 11, 46, 50, 51 vices, 52, 68 Downer cows, 123–24Detoeing, 119 Duckett, Susan, 7DeWaal, Caroline Smith, 72 Dust-bathing, 122DHA. See Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)Diabetes Earth Policy Institute, xiii diet and, 24, 25, 30–31 Ecological impact health-care costs and, 21 of diets, x–xi obesity and, 18 of plant diet, 21 processed meat and, 43 Economics, 21 whole grains and, 38 Edmondson, Drew, 96–97Diehl, Hans, 28 Eggs. See also PoultryDiet. See also specific diets consumption of, 18 American, vii–viii, 18–19, 21, 145 foodborne illness from, 62, 156 animal welfare and, 127–33, 144, 147 heart disease and, 45–46 cancer and, 17–18, 24, 29 Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), 11, 46, 50, 51 cholesterol level and, 23–25 Endocrine-disrupting compounds DASH Eating Plan, 28, 145, 146 (EDCs), 130 diabetes and, 24, 25, 30–31 Environmental issues. See also specific disease and, 17–18, 21–31 (See also issues specific diseases) air pollution as, 103–12, 159 environmental issues and, 158–69 animal product contaminants and, global warming and, x–xi 52–56 health experts’ advice on, 32, 34, feed grain use and, 163, 166 56–57, 143–44 government policies and, 158–66 heart disease and, 17–18, 20, 25, 26–29 livestock production and, viii–xi, 9–12 hypertension and, 23–25, 27–29 overgrazing and, 166 low-fat vegetarian, 27–29 pesticide and fertilizer use and, 161–63 Mediterranean, 28, 145–46 water pollution as, 77, 94–100, 159–60 obesity and, 18, 25–26 water use as, 160–61 promotion of unhealthy foods and, 157 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendations for changing, 143–49 air pollution and, 158 stroke and, 17–18, 23, 46 fertilizer use and, 82, 96 vegan, 24–26, 147 fish consumption and, 56 vegetarian, 21, 24–31, 49, 147 manure use and, 158 web sites with information on, 177–79 water pollution and, 94, 98–100, 158
  • Index • 229Environmental Quality Incentives Pro- heart disease and, 46, 50 gram (EQIP) (Department of Agri- mercury in, 47, 56 culture), 160 5 A Day program (Department ofEnvironmental Working Group (EWG), Health and Human Services), 153 55–56, 82, 92, 165 Flavonoids, 51EPA. See Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) Fluoroquinolones, 69Erosion Foie gras, 167 cropland, 73, 74, 76–77, 85, 88 Folate, 49 from irrigation, 91, 95–96, 101 Food and Drug Administration (FDA) methods to reduce, 79, 80, 162 animal feed and, 128 pesticide runoff and, 100 fish consumption guidelines and, 56 soil compaction and, 78 food safety and, 68, 69, 71–72 water, 79n health and food-safety responsibili- wind, 79n ties of, 156Escherichia coli, 60, 63–66, 129, 172–73 nuts and, 38–39Eshel, Gidon, x sex hormones and, 131Esselstyn, Caldwell, 30 Foodborne illnessEuropean Prospective Investigation antibiotic resistance and, 68–70 into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), costs of, 72 24, 25, 42, 46 eggs and, 62, 156European Union, 70, 131, 162, 163, 167 food-safety system and, 71–72Exercise. See Physical activity increased risk for, 63–64Exotic weeds, 78 livestock production and, 61, 63–67, 72, 156Farm Animal Welfare Council (United from manure, viii, 65–66 Kingdom), 167 overview of, 59Farm Bill of 2002, 162, 165 pathogens responsible for, 171–76Farmers’ markets, 154 poultry-related influenza and, 67, 71Farm subsidy programs, 92, 161–66 prevention of, 156–57Fatty acids sources of, 60–66 in beef, 11 Food labeling, 155–56 omega-3, 11, 46, 50–51 Food pyramidsFertilizers DASH, 145 affecting non-farm animals and, 137 Mediterranean, 146 biosolids as, 84, 85 vegetarian, 147 chemical, 80–82, 84, 85 Food-safety system. See also Foodborne environmental issues related to, illness 96–100, 108–10, 158 federal government responsibility manure as, 4, 65, 83–84 for, 71–72, 156 recommendations to reduce use of, risks to, 62–64 161–63 Food Stamp program, 153 sewage waste as, 132 Framingham Heart Study, 41Fiber. See Dietary fiber Fruit and Vegetable Snack ProgramFish (Department of Agriculture), 153, 165 bycatch and, 115 Fruits cancer and, 46 dietary recommendations for, 36–37, 153 contaminants in, 47, 55–56 foodborne illness from, 64–65 dietary recommendations for, 11 health benefits of, 31–36 extinction issues for, 46 programs to increase consumption health benefits of, 46 of, 153–54
  • 230 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet statistics regarding consumption of, 21 health claims regarding, 10–11 weight loss and, 35 Greenhouse gases, x, 82, 104, 107, 108. See also specific gasesGastroenteritis, 65 Groundwater, 89–90Gastrointestinal health, 38 Groundwater Protection Act (Iowa), 162Gates, Larry, 73 Growth hormone, 123General Mills, 164 Guillain-Barré Syndrome, 62Gestation crates, 114, 120, 121, 125, 167 Gulf of MexicoGlobal Resource Action Center for the contaminated shellfish in, 47 Environment, 158 dead zone in, ix, 97–98Global warming, x–xi, 108 nitrogen discharged into, 96Glyphosate, 84, 85, 100Government policies/practices. See also Hantavirus, 66 specific government agencies Hawthorne Valley Farms, 9 farm subsidies and, 164–65 Hayes, Tyrone, 85 food-safety regulation as, 71–72 Health-care costs, 21, 72 irrigation subsidies as, 161 Health issues. See also Foodborne ill-Government policy recommendations ness; specific diseases to discontinue promotion of un- diet and, 17–18, 21–22, 32, 34 healthy meat and dairy foods, 157 from foodborne bacteria, viii for healthy meals at government- government programs addressing, 152 run facilities, 158 from hydrogen sulfide, 109–110 to help move to more plant-based from pesticide use, 53–55 diet, 151–52 related to refined foods, xi–xii, 18, 148 to improve animal welfare, 166–68 Heart disease to improve environment, 158–67 animal products and, 41–42 to increase fruit and vegetable con- beef and, 8, 10, 41 sumption, 153–54 dairy products and, 44 for more effective food labeling, 155–56 decreasing risk for, 27–28 to prevent antibiotic resistance, 157 diet and, 17–18, 20, 25, 26–29 to prevent foodborne illness, 156 dietary fiber and, 48 to reduce fat content of meat, 154 dietary recommendations for people to reduce fat content of milk, 154–55 with, 11 to reduce feed grain use, 163, 166 eggs and, 45–46Grain-fed beef. See also Animal feed; fish and, 46, 50 Beef; Livestock production fruits and vegetables and, 33 background of, 3–7 health-care costs and, 21 environmental issues related to, 11, legumes and, 39–40 13, 163 nuts and, 38–39 fat content in, 5–8 obesity and, 18Grain production reversal of, 29–30 effects on soil of, 73 unsaturated oils and, 50 government subsidies and, 164–65 whole grains and, 37 for livestock feed, viii–ix, 80 Heterocyclic amines (HCAs), 52 water for, 88–89 High blood pressure. See HypertensionGrandin, Temple, 136 Hogs. See Pigs/porkGrass-fed beef. See also Beef; Livestock Hormones production in beef cattle, 117, 124, 131, 160 environmental issues and, xi, 3, 13 bovine growth, 123, 124, 160 fat content in, 5–8, 10 in dairy cattle (rBST), 123
  • Index • 231 pesticide use and, 85, 130 ecological impact and, x, xi sex, 131 food pyramid for, 147–48 water pollution and, 160 Laura’s Lean Beef, 9Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, Leaf, Alexander, 28 134, 136, 168 Legumes, 39–40Human Rights Watch, 135 Leopold Center for sustainable Agri-Hurricane Katrina, 122 culture, 162Hydrogen fluoride, 97 Lignans, 51Hydrogen sulfide, 106, 109–10 Lingins, 51Hypertension Listeria, 60, 67, 173–74 animal products and, 41–42 Listeria monocytogenes, 60 dairy products and, 44 Livestock production. See also Agri- diet and, 23–25, 27–29 cultural practices; Animal welfare; health-care costs and, 21 Beef; Cattle; Pigs/pork obesity and, 18 antibiotics use in, 3, 69, 70, 157 potassium and, 50 background of, 3–4Hypoxia, 96, 98 cattle age and, 7–8Influenza, avian, 67, 70–71, 123 environmental issues related to,Insoluble fiber, 48 viii–xi, 9–12, 144Institute of Medicine exotic weeds and, 78 antibiotics in animals and, 69 foodborne illness and, 61, 63–67, 72, conjugated linoleic acid and, 10–11 156, 172–76 dietary recommendations for grain- vs. grass-fed, xi, 3–13 Women, Infants, and Children soil and, 75–76 (WIC) program, 153 treatment of animals and, 12 fiber and, 49 water use for, 88–89, 93–94 saturated fat and, 40 Loan deficiency payments, 164–65Intervention studies, 26–27 Longevity, 22, 23Iowa Pork Producers Association, 70 Low-fat vegetarian diets, 27–29Irrigation. See also Water use Lung cancer, 51 economics of, 92–93 Lyon Diet Heart Study, 28 environmental problems resulting Maceration, 119 from, 76, 87, 95–96, 101, 160 Mad cow disease, 66, 116, 133, 156, 168, erosion from, 91, 95–96, 101 174–75 government policies on, 161 Mandell, Ira, 5, 8 methods of, 90–91 Manure statistics regarding, 7, 11, 88–90 air pollution from, 104–06, 109–10, 158Isoflavones, 51 ammonia and, 99–100Jenkins, David, 27–28, 30 as fertilizer, 4, 65, 83–84 foodborne illness from, viii, 65–66Kosher meat, 134 livestock production and, viii, 10, 12,Kowalcyk, Kevin, 63 83, 86, 98–99Kris-Etherton, Penny, 38 water pollution from, 96, 98–100,Kummer, Corby, 8 158–60Lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. See also Veg- Manure lagoons, 18, 94, 105, 107, 159, 160 etarian diets Marine algae, 98 animal welfare and, 147 Martin, Pamela, x cholesterol level and, 24 Mastitis, 123 dietary fiber intake and, 49 Maverick Ranch, 9
  • 232 • Six Arguments for a Greener DietMcGovern, George, xiv diet and, 18, 25–26Meat. See Beef; Cattle; Pigs/pork; Pro- fruits and vegetables and, 35 cessed meat health-care costs and, 21Mediterranean diet, 28, 145–46 Observational studies, 22Mercury, 47, 56 Odor, 104, 110Meta-analyses, 25 Ogallala Aquifer, 89Methane, viii, x, 10, 12, 104–07 Oldways, 145, 146Metolachlor, 100 Omaha Steaks, 3Microbiotic crust, 78 Omega-3 fatty acidsMilk production. See also Dairy products beef and, 11 fat content reduction and, 154–55 fish and, 46 methods used in, 123–24 sources of, 50–51Mills, Paul K., 54 Organophosphate pesticides, 55Monterey Bay Aquarium, 46 Orlando, Edward, 131Morton’s, 3 Ornish, Dean, 29, 30National Academy of Sciences, 69–70 Osteoporosis, 43National Cancer Institute, 34, 48, 54 Osterholm, Michael, 67National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, O’Toole, Tara, 71 9, 166 Overfishing, 46National Cholesterol Education Pro- Overgrazing, 166 gram, 28 Oxford Vegetarian Study, 24, 25, 45National Institute for Occupational Ozone depletion, 108 Safety and Health, 105, 109 Pancreatic cancer, 43National Pollution Discharge and Parasites, 60, 82, 84, 122 Elimination System (Environmental Pariza, Michael, 10 Protection Agency), 99 Particulate matter, 106, 109, 111–12National Research Council, 106 PBDEs. See Polybrominated diphenylNational Science and Technology ethers (PBDEs) Council, 98 PCBs. See Polychlorinated biphenylsNational Toxicology Program (Depart- (PCBs) ment of Health and Human Ser- Peanuts, 38, 39 vices), 52 People for the Ethical Treatment of Ani-Natural Resources Defense Council, 92 mals (PETA), 134Neural tube defect, 49 PesticidesNitric oxide, 81, 82, 106, 108, 109 affecting non-farm animals, 136–38Nitrogen, 74, 75, 80–83, 96–99, 106, 107, in animal feed, 130, 132 110, 132, 160, 162, 163 environmental and health effects of,Nitrogen dioxide, 81, 82, 108 ix, 53, 84–85, 100, 112, 158, 161–63Nitrogen oxides (NOx), 81–82, 108, 109 recommendations to reduce use of,Nitrous oxide, x, 106–08 161–63North American Pollinator Protection Pfiesteria, 66 Campaign, 138 Phosphate, 97Norwalk-like viruses, 60 Phosphorus, 72, 83, 96, 99, 160, 163Nurses’ Health Study (Harvard School Photochemicals, 51–52 of Public Health), 26, 37, 42, 44 Physical activityNutrition Facts label (Department of health and, 17, 18, 32 Agriculture), 155 heart disease and, 29–30Nuts, 38–39 Mediterranean diet and, 146Obesity Phytase, 160
  • Index • 233Phytochemicals, 51–52 diet and, 24Phytosterols, 27, 51 fish and, 47Pigs/pork lifestyle change to control, 29 antibiotic use for, 70, 157 pesticides and, 54 cancer from consumption of, 42 Protein. See Animal protein confinement of, 120–21 Pseudomonas, 67 fertilizer use to produce, 81 Public Citizen, 158 hypertension from consumption of, 42 rBST (recombinant bovine somatotro- influenza in, 67 pin), 123 neurotic behavior in, 125–26 Rectal cancer, 42 reducing fat content in, 154 Reduced tillage, 79 toxins consumed by, 128 Refined foods, xi–xii, 18, 19, 26, 30, 37, water consumption by, 93 38, 49, 57, 148Pilgrim’s Pride, 132 Reiter’s Syndrome, 62Pimentel, David, 77n Relyea, Rick, 85Politics, xvii Restaurants, 155–56Pollan, Michael, xii, 152 Rollin, Bernard, 117, 122, 126, 134Pollution. See Air pollution; Environ- Roxarsone, 82 mental issues; Water pollution Russell, James, 129Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), 56 Sacks, Frank, 41Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), 47, Salatin, Joel, 152 55–56, 130 Salinization, 96Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Salmon, 55–56 (PAHs), 52 Salmonella, 60–62, 64–66, 68–69, 156, 175Polyunsaturated fat, 38, 50, 51 Salt, 19Pork. See Pigs/pork Saturated fatPotash and Phosphate Institute, 96 in animal products, 40–41Potassium blood cholesterol levels and, 20 dairy products and, 43 Schechter, Arnold, 56 sources of, 49–50 Schlosser, Eric, 63, 135Poultry. See also Eggs Scombrotoxin, 47 air pollution from, 106–07 Scully, Matthew, 114, 167 antibiotic use for, 69, 70, 157 Seafood Watch (Monterey Bay Aquar- cattle products fed to, 66, 133 ium), 46 cruel treatment of, 114, 119, 121–23 Selenium, 51, 95 egg production by, 121, 124, 156 Seventh-day Adventists (SDAs), 23–24 fat and saturated fat in, 43 Sewage sludge, 132 foodborne pathogens in, 172, 175 Sex hormones, 131 influenza-infected, 67, 71 Shula, Dave, 4 neurotic behavior in, 126–27 Slaughter methods, 134–36 nutrition labeling for, 155 Smil, Vaclav, 109Poultry litter, 132 Soft drinks, 19, 32, 148, 153Prion, 66 SoilProcessed meat compaction of, 78 cancer and, 42, 43 erosion of, 76–77 fat content in, 154 exotic weeds and, 78Prosilac, 123 fertilizer use and, 80–84Prostate cancer importance of good, 74–75, 84 dairy products and, 45 livestock’s demand on, 75–76
  • 234 • Six Arguments for a Greener Diet pesticides on, 84–85 diabetes and, 25Soil and Water Conservation Society, 162 food pyramid for, 147–48Soil conservation, 79–80 health-care costs and, 21Soluble fiber, 27, 47, 48. See also Dietary heart disease and, 24–30 fiber hypertension and, 25Soybean production, 73, 79 lacto-ovo, x, xi, 24, 49, 147Soy foods, 27, 39 low-fat, 26–27Spina bifida, 49 studies of, 22–31Staphylococcus, 67, 175–76 Vibrio, 47Stroke Viruses, Norwalk-like, 60 diet and, 17–18, 23, 46 Vitamin C, 51 fruits and vegetables and, 33 Vitamin D, 43 potassium and, 50 Vitamin E, 51Sulfuric acid, 108 Volatile organic compounds (VOCs),Superfund, 159 106, 110Tail docking, 118 Water pollutionTohill, Beth Carlton, 35 agricultural practices and, 94–100Tomatoes, 36 fertilizers and pesticides and, 161Topsoil, 74–85. See also Soil from manure, 65, 96, 98–100, 158–60Toxoplasma gondii, 176 recommendations to prevent,Transport methods, 133–34 159–63Tyson Foods, 70, 97 from soil erosion, 77U.K. Farm Animal Welfare Council, 167 Water useUnited Egg Producers, 121 aquifer depletion and, 89–90University of Guelph (Ontario), 5, 7, 8 irrigation and, 76, 87–93, 95–96, 101,Unsaturated fats, 20, 40, 50, 155 160, 161U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 82, 96, for livestock production, 88–89, 100 93–94, 101USDA. See Department of Agriculture recommendations to reduce, 160–61 (USDA) in United States, 89 Weight loss, 35, 48Veal production, 128 West Nile virus, 66Vegan diet. See also Vegetarian diets Whole grains, 37–38 animal welfare and, 147 Willett, Walter, 35 cholesterol level and, 24–26 hypertension and, 25, 26 Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) recommendations for, 147, 148 program, 153Vegetables World Cancer Research Foundation, dietary recommendations for, 36–37 52, 144 foodborne illness from, 64–65 World Health Organization, 33, 35, 46, health benefits of, 31–36 48, 56–57, 69, 144 programs to increase consumption World Organization for Animal Health, of, 153–54 135 statistics regarding consumption of, 21 World Resources Institute, 92 weight loss and, 35 Yang, Richard, 54Vegetarian diets cholesterol levels and, 24–25 Zahn, James, 105
  • $14.95 (Canada: $21) ISBN 0-89329-049-1 T his careful examination of scientific studies finds that eating more plant foods and fewer fatty animal products can lead to extra years of healthy living. Happily, that same diet leads to much less food poisoning, water pollution, air pollution, and global warming. And, because fewer cows, pigs, and chickens would need to be raised, there would be less suffering on factory farms and in slaughterhouses. “Six Arguments is a great description of the links between our diet and serious environmental and health problems. I hope that readers and policy makers will implement the book’s many recommendations.” Walter Willett, M.D. Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health “While there are serious differences of opinion about issues relating to the animal foods component of the American diet, the provocative policy discussions in this book should be must reading for anyone interested in the future of food and agriculture.” Dan Glickman former Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture “Six Arguments for a Greener Diet is a great guide to the powerful impact that our dietary choices—especially high meat consumption—have on our environmental footprint.” Robert S. Lawrence, M.D. Director, Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., is co-founder and executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the nonprofit health advocacy organization that publishes the world’s largest- circulation nutrition newsletter, Nutrition Action Healthletter. CSPI advocates nutritious and safe diets and campaigns for policies to protect the public health and environment. It led the campaigns for laws requiring Nutrition Facts and trans-fat labeling on packaged foods, requiring health warn- ings on alcoholic beverages, and defining “organic” foods. It publishes attention-getting studies, including exposés of the nutritional quality of restaurant meals and movie theater popcorn. Michael Jacobson is the author/co-author of Restaurant Confidential, Marketing Madness, What Are We Feeding Our Kids?, and The Fast-Food Guide. Cover design by Debra Brink; book design by Nita Congress